I have mixed feelings about The Trumpet of the Swan
. First the pluses. Our toddler enjoyed the read along very much. She thought my imitation of the swans' "ko-hoh!" was silly. Fred Marcellino's beautiful sepia drawings really helped tell the story. And the closing lines made me feel warm and fuzzy all over:
As Louis relaxed and prepared for sleep, all his thoughts were of how lucky he was to inhabit such a beautiful earth, how lucky he had been to solve his problems with music, and how pleasant it was to look forward to another night of sleep and another day tomorrow, and the fresh morning, and the light that returns with the day.
Sweet, huh? And I would say that the ending really was all love and light EXCEPT for what I'll call "the deal". How can Louis the swan offer a stirring message on the preference of freedom over safety one moment, and the next offer future cygnets to the Philadelphia Zoo to ensure his lady-love Serena's wings remain un-pinioned? Louis agrees to enslave his offspring to help himself and his mate avoid captivity. Hypocrisy anyone? "The deal" bothered me, as did the bizarre kangaroo court sequence on a Billings, Montana sidewalk with the defendant swan lying injured in a spreading pool of his blood. I know White's making a point about greed and excessive acquisition, but c'mon! The end result of the "trial" is that the Audubon Society receives a sizable donation to assuage the shooter's guilt. (And what are the odds that a young boy involved in the trial as a witness is named Al Gore?) Whatever! Someone help the injured swan at your feet, for cryin' out loud! Thankfully, help finally arrives, the swan is saved, and we finally get our happy ending. I felt less than gleeful.The Trumpet of the Swan
gets marked down for hypocrisy and frustrating weirdness. I could just be acting the curmudgeon, however. It's an interesting story with terrific artwork. Give it a try!