Friday, October 19, 2012

(Trumpet Trill Please): Book Pick of the Week

Characters that are at once noble, flawed and hilarious – HOW DOES E.B. WHITE DO IT? This is what I wondered as I re-read Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little as an adult. And it's what I wondered in spades this summer as I read yet another classic:

The story of a swan born mute, it chronicles young hero Louis's attempts to make money to pay for the trumpet his vain, endearing father has stolen to be his voice. He triumphs, of course, in more ways than one – love, friendship, monetary gain. But I'm not sure the story would be nearly as appealing to kids if it weren't also humorous. E.B. White was a master of cheerful, casual dialog that is full of sentiment, never cloying, and laugh-out-loud funny. "I've got a trumpet, I've got a slate, I've got a chalk pencil; now I've got a medal," says Louis at one point. "I'm beginning to look like a hippie." When she got to that line, Ada snorted milk out of her nose.

As with Anastasia Krupnick, I was late getting to this book, too. I started it as a read-aloud; halfway through, Ada commandeered it to read to herself because I couldn't read it to her fast enough – or at all, say, while I was driving the car. She's re-reading it now. Which, of course, is praise of the highest order.

No comments: