Monday, February 6, 2012

Review: Play, Louis, Play

Play, Louis, Play: The True Story of a Boy and His Horn
By Muriel Harris Weinstein, illustrated by Frank Morrison
Published 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

This is one of the 2013 Bluebonnet nominees, which I'm hoping to read all of before the demand for them gets too crazy. Here, we get the story on Louis Armstrong from the source who knows him best - his very first horn.

Once again, I am struck by discovering things I never knew from reading children's books - I finally know why Armstrong was called Satchmo, something I have always wondered. This is a quick and easy read, told in short chapters that illustrate pieces of young Armstrong's life. I think what I like best about this book is the way it is told. It's a very unique narration - from the point of view of Armstrong's horn - which could have turned out to feel pretty gimmicky. Instead, this book actually reads like you might expect a horn to talk. It's rhythmic and jazzy and fun. This book really only covers the beginning of Armstrong's life, but it is evocative enough that readers might seek out more information on their own. There's a pretty good author's note at the end, as well as a bibliography and a glossary of jazz terms. I thought this was a really interesting and fun read.

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