by E. B. White, published 1970
“Not many people in the world have seen the nest of a Trumpeter Swan. Sam had found one on the lonely pond on this day in spring. Nothing he had ever seen before in all his life had made him feel quite the way he felt…”
What could be more fantastical than a swan who can’t make his trumpeting sounds and therefore carries a trumpet. This wonderful image seems possible because E. B. White makes it so real. The descriptions of nature, the lovely relationship between the boy Sam and the swan, and the feeling of life in the wild all create such a vivid experience that one forgets that perhaps a swan carrying a trumpet is make-believe.
One gift of many that I took away from this children’s book is the love of nature, and the longing to be a naturalist, someone who really understands the wild and how to love and protect it. It is hard to believe that anyone could infuse a children’s book with such a sense of nature, yet hold the reader’s attention because of the implausible twists and turns of the plot.
The book can easily be followed and enjoyed by younger children, perhaps read-aloud to them. From 8-12, this is an easy children’s book for a young reader to grasp and thoroughly enjoy on their own. The silly twists and turns of the plot are totally enjoyable. The descriptions of life in the wild are memorable. And the point is essential: overcoming adversity, and making the best of what life gives you. The book is particularly good for boys as both Sam and the swan are boys, having boyhood adventures.
Buy this at your local independent bookstore