SWAN IN LOVE by Eve Bunting


Age Range: 4 - 8
Email this review


Bunting (A Picnic in October, 1999, etc.) pens a sweet story about a swan in love with the wooden swan figurehead on a little boat. Swan (no relation to Proust’s character of the same name) is hopelessly in love with the carved swan that adorns the front of a boat named “Dora.” The other swans in the lake and the other animals—even the fish and the frog—mock his impossible love. Instead of migrating south with the other swans in the fall, Swan stays behind to keep Dora company during the winters. At the end of one winter, both Dora and Swan are showing signs of aging—Dora is full of cracks, is more gray than white now, and when she’s put back into the water, she leaks badly; and Swan is slower and stiffer than he used to be. When Dora’s human owner announces that the boat can’t be fixed and will have to be destroyed, Swan goes crazy and attacks the man. But the love between Swan and Dora is too strong to be sundered, and both real and wooden swan are transformed into water lilies that float side by side on the lake. The pastel illustrations are absolutely exquisite and the depictions of the animals, especially the frog, are enormously appealing. But the moral this story delivers is a tad on the heavy-handed side—phrases such as “love was never wrong,” “difference makes no difference to love,” and “love makes magic” all hammer home the “love conquers all” message. While this is an agreeable story, it’s not entirely successful, never quite becoming the magical tale it strives to be and of questionable interest to children. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-689-82080-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2000


ChildrenLITTLE YELLOW TRUCK by Eve Bunting
by Eve Bunting
ChildrenI'M A DUCK by Eve Bunting
by Eve Bunting
ChildrenTHUNDER HORSE by Eve Bunting
by Eve Bunting