In my mind, there are two categories of children’s entertainments: kinds
that only a child or a really nostalgic adult could enjoy (for instance, the
Teletubbies or the Babysitter’s Club books), and kinds that
have something for everyone in them.
The classic The Trumpet of the Swan (by E. B. White, who is best known
for Charlotte’s Web) definitely fits in the latter category. It
fits there because the author doesn’t talk down to children, but instead
focuses on telling a good story that adults as well as children can enjoy in
a way that all of his audience can understand it. And he tells it in such a
spellbinding way as to make all his readers believe things that would otherwise
seem silly, like a trumpeter swan overcoming
a disability by learning to play
a human musical instrument.
The trumpeter swan in this truly endearing book is named Louis. With the help
of his friend, a boy named Sam Beaver, he does indeed learn to play the trumpet
and accomplishes much more besides. To find out exactly what he does and how
he does it you’ll have to read the book, but most likely you won’t
have a problem suspending your disbelief to truly enjoy what’s going on
(at least I didn’t).
This is one of those books I knew I’d read at some point while growing
up, but had completely forgotten about it. I’m glad I picked it up again.