Yesterday I finished reading E. B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan. It is a delightful, fictional tale about a young, mute trumpeter swan, Louis, whose attempts at finding a mate are non-existent until his father risks his own life to supply his son with a means of communication. They meet a nature-loving boy, Sam, who is instrumental in helping Louis throughout his adolescence. The story is beautifully written, with wonderful descriptions and facts about trumpeter swans. The story moves quickly enough to keep children from feeling bored. Mine would cry for more at the completion of each chapter.

The plot is (admittedly) far-fetched. But it fits with the far-reaching love parents have toward their off-spring, as well as the far-reaching efforts of young animals who want to find a mate to which the book speaks. I am a bit perplexed by White’s solution to Louis’s relationship with the Philadelphia Zoo toward the end of the book. It seems inconsistent with the parental self-sacrificing and the love of individual freedom we see earlier in the book. I’d like to hear other comments on this, if you have any.

Fred Marcellino’s illustrations are humorous and so expressive. How he knows how to draw a swan who looks embarrassed, sheepish, determined, in love, tired…is amazing. It was a fun, quick-moving book to read with my children. Highly recommended.