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If I Only Had a Horn - Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill and Leonard Jenkins

There are many myths about Louis Armstrongs start in life including a few of his own. Roxane Orgill's story is based upon a combination of her research and her imagination. Illustrations are an important factor in children's books and Leonard Jenkins creates an early New Orleans mood to complement Orgill's written word.

This is a tale of achievement. Louis's ambition is illustrated by his song which appears throughout. " If I could sing I could bring home pennies play slow drag blues tap happy feet blues till the sun rose. If I had a horn."

The story takes him from a bare cupboard and no pennies to leading the Colored Waifs' Home Band - and the second line - down Perdido Street with his shiny cornet. On the way he dances for pennies to the music of his idol Joe Oliver at the Funky Butt Hall earns a nickname "Dippermouth" and has a foolish misadventure which lands him in the Waif's Home. Luckily for Louis the home has a brass band. He starts on tambourine and progresses to bugle. He learns that you just can"t play like Joe Oliver overnight. His hard work and practice earn him the cornet and eventually result in new instruments for all the band.

This book is recommended for ages 4 to 8. I don"t know about that. There's a dearth of juvenile literature covering jazz so don"t let your older children or grandchildren miss out on this inspiring story.'Louis earns a cornet! Roxane Orgill,in her first book for children, tells an inspiring tale of Louiss beginnings that is "as true as possible" to his character.'

Additional Info

  • Book Title: If I Only Had a Horn - Young Louis Armstrong
  • Author: Roxane Orgill and Leonard Jenkins
  • Publisher: Houghton Miffin
  • Year Published: 1997
  • Book Type:: Biography
  • ISBN: 395759196
  • Rating: Five Stars
  • Number of Pages: 30
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