Trumpet of the Swan. E.B. White

Harper & Row, 1970, 1972.  Awarded:  1973.

Synopsis:  Louis is a trumpeter swan born without a voice.  A boy named Sam Beaver takes Louis to school so that the swan may learn to read and write, but the beautiful swan Serena will have nothing to do with Louis because he is defective.  When his father steals a trumpet from a music store, Louis uses it to communicate with others and win the love of Serena.

Themes:  Friendship, Honor, Courage, Love, Freedom

Discussion questions:  Standard 3, Benchmark 3.

1. Do you know someone who is handicapped?  How does he/she compensate for his/her disability?

2. Why did the old cob commit a crime?  How did he make up for the crime in the end?

3. How does Louis finally win Serena's heart?

4. How does Sam Beaver help Louis throughout the book?  Does Louis ever help Sam Beaver?

Activity Suggestions:

1. Create a timeline of Louis' life adventures.  Standard 3, Benchmark 1.

2. Using a trumpet, have the music teacher or a music student play one of Louis' songs for the class.  Standard 5, Benchmark 2.

3. Louis had several people he could turn to when he was in trouble.  Explain in a paragraph whom you turn to for advice or help.  Standard 5, Benchmark 3.