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After awhile, Mr. Brickle rose to his feet and addressed the boys and the counselors.
"I call your attention," he said, "to a new camper in our midst--Louis the Swan. He is a Trumpeter Swan, a rare bird. We are lucky to have him. I have employed him at the same salary I pay my junior counselors: one hundred dollars for the season. He is gentle and has a speech defect. He came here from Montana with Sam Beaver. Louis is a musician. Like most musicians, he is in need of money."
Author: E.B. White
Synopsis: Louis the Swan cannot make the long ko-hoh sound that the other trumpeter swans make. His father steals a trumpet from a music store and Louis learns to play--but he must repay the store for the trumpet. After consulting with his friend Sam Beaver, a boy he met as a cygnet, he finds work to pay for the trumpet and wins the love of beautiful Serena.
* * *
Just before Lou and I got married last year, Lou had a busy Saturday and I took my car downtown for an oil change. While the car was in the lube place, I walked over to Henderson's Books (the coolest used bookstore ever--you can get lost in there) and made my way to the children's section. Pulling The Trumpet of the Swan off the shelf, I remembered having loved it as a child. But when I opened the book and saw that the hero was named Louis, well--I had to buy it. I started reading it while waiting for my car and finished it not long thereafter.
Children's books, which are usually free from the pretentious depression common to adult fiction, make me happy. The hard-working, intelligent Louis, the cheerful, wondering Sam Beaver, and the many characters they meet on their adventures can fascinate and charm me just as they would have twenty-odd years ago.