I’m reading E.B. White’s The Trumpet of the Swan, and two chapters into the book, I start thinking that my students who are mostly eight-ish, are going to think that this is moving like treacle. I mean, this is E.B. White of Charlotte’s Web fame, isn’t it? I was wrong, so wrong! They love this book. So, with the help of youtube clips on trumpeter swans taking off from the water and calling for a mate and so on, we are totally into this whimsical and improbable tale.
Back to swans, and written for older kids ages 9 and up, Flyaway is a beautiful story told against a backdrop of very hard family circumstances. Isla and her father are running across a field trying to keep up with the swans who are flying in to winter over at a nearby lake. The birds collide with power lines, and Isla’s father collapses..
This is a book that could help readers understand difficult times and perhaps come to terms with their own set of experiences. Aside from that, it’s so well written and has many elements that kids generally love to read about: environmental issues, coming of age, sibling craziness, other students, often mean and uncomprehending, and then swans, those exquisite almost mythical creatures.
I listened to Flyaway narrated by Harriet Carmichael and produced by Recorded Books and finished up thinking that my commute home was definitely well spent. It was no white knuckle journey, but the story is compelling and the characters believable.