Play, Louis, Play!: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn

Play, Louis, Play!: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn

4.2 9
by Muriel Harris Weinstein, Frank Morrison
     
 

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The childhood of Louis Armstrong was as fascinating as the great musician himself-and this chapter book biography tells it like never before. Play, Louis, Play! is written from the point of view of Louis' closest companion throughout his youth-his horn! In a jazz-inflected, exuberant voice, this unusual narrator tells it all, starting with the small New Orleans…  See more details below

Overview

The childhood of Louis Armstrong was as fascinating as the great musician himself-and this chapter book biography tells it like never before. Play, Louis, Play! is written from the point of view of Louis' closest companion throughout his youth-his horn! In a jazz-inflected, exuberant voice, this unusual narrator tells it all, starting with the small New Orleans hock shop where little Louis bought his first trumpet for five hard-earned dollars.

As Louis goes from a street quartet to the marching band of the Colored Waif 's Home to the big sounds of New Orleans jazz clubs, author Muriel Harris Weinstein creates a moving portrait of the jazz legend. Includes a detailed author's note, glossary of jazz terms, and bibliography.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
Sitting in the rusty, dusty window of a New Orleans hock shop, a battered, tarnished horn first spies young Louis Armstrong gazing in at the old instrument. In the voice of that very horn, we hear the story of how a young raggle-tag boy from the streets of New Orleans becomes a jazz king. Born into poverty, Louis had to work at a very young age to help his mother, grandmother and sister survive. Whether it was peddling from a cart, selling newspapers, or singing in a street quartet, Louis was always looking for a way to make a buck. And his ears were always filled with music. When an innocent prank lands Louis in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys, what seems to be a punishment turns into a blessing in disguise—he gets to join a band! Eventually Louis returns home to his family, and he continues his dream of making music. He catches the attention of Joe Oliver and from there, rockets into the jazz spotlight. Louis' keen ear, scat style, and smile as wide as a satchel are the legacy he left—but to that rusty horn, little Louis was simply his best friend. The clever narrator's voice and Weinstein's jazzy, rhythmic text make the story itself feel like a song and embody Armstrong's lively spirit. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Written in a playful tone, this story is narrated by the great Satchmo's first official horn. Young Armstrong's love of all kinds of music presented itself early on and was a gift so profound that it had to come to fruition. Although he never completed the fifth grade, Armstrong worked hard at odd jobs ranging from reading newspapers to the elderly to hocking scrap metal to playing in a street band. He was able to earn money for his family, but he was also saving to buy a special secondhand, dented horn he saw at the pawnshop. After dreaming, saving, and a generous loan from a friend, the boy was able to make the purchase. The lyrical, easy-to-read text includes details of Armstrong's life with his grandmother, his mother, his father, and his time in the Colored Waif's Home for Boys. Although he was sent there for getting in trouble, the home was a fortunate place for him to end up; he was given food, shelter, clothing, and the opportunity to hone his musical skills. Weinstein includes a glossary and a list of references as a starting point to learn more about the magical and fascinating life of this American legend.—Patty Saidenberg, George Jackson Academy, New York City
Kirkus Reviews

Weinstein, author of the lighthearted picture book When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Scat, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (2008), lofts another tribute, this time in short chapters. The subtitle's belied straightaway as the narrator, Armstrong's first cornet, begins opining enthusiastically from the display window of a New Orleans "hock shop." Claiming that Louis would "talk to me as if we were brothers, tell me every note in his life" and invoking Armstrong's lifelong journaling habit, the narrator liberally interjects dialogue and serves as a sort of touchstone for the impoverished boy's musical dreams. Biographical details, mostly sanitized for primary graders, enrich the upbeat text, and although a few of Louis' scrapes with police are highlighted, the emphasis is on Armstrong's extraordinary musical gifts and the appreciation with which they were met, from childhood street quartets through his arrival in Chicago.A glossary defines words like "outhouse" and "vocalist" but not the oft-used term "colored." Best enjoyed as fiction, it's still a resonant first connection to Armstrong's hard-knock beginnings, determination and towering jazz innovations. Illustrations not seen. (afterword, references) (Historical fiction. 7-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781599907093
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
12/07/2010
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
720,486
File size:
3 MB
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

MURIEL HARRIS WEINSTEIN's poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Nassau Review, Kent State Review, Nexus, and many anthologies. She is the author of the picture book When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Jazz. She lives in New York.

FRANK MORRISON
is a renowned fine artist whose work was featured in Our Children Can Soar. He has lent his talents to many picture books, including Alex Rodriguez's Out of the Ballpark, Queen Latifah's Queen of the Scene, and Brenda Roberts' Jazzy Miz Mozetta, for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. He lives in Georgia.
MURIEL HARRIS WEINSTEIN's poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Nassau Review, Kent State Review, Nexus, and many anthologies. She is the author of the picture book When Louis Armstrong Taught Me Jazz. She lives in New York.
FRANK MORRISON is a renowned fine artist whose work was featured in Our Children Can Soar. He has lent his talents to many picture books, including Alex Rodriguez's Out of the Ballpark, Queen Latifah's Queen of the Scene, and Brenda Roberts' Jazzy Miz Mozetta, for which he won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. He lives in Georgia.

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