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If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong…
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If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong (edition 2002)

by Roxane Orgill, Leonard Jenkins (Illustrator)

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719168,809 (3.8)None
Member:roseritacco
Title:If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong
Authors:Roxane Orgill
Other authors:Leonard Jenkins (Illustrator)
Info:Sandpiper (2002), Paperback, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Level M, Biography, African-American

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If I Only Had a Horn: Young Louis Armstrong by Roxane Orgill

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I like this book.Roxanne Orgill tells the story of a young Louis Armstrong, and what motivated him to begin his odyssey into musicianship. A combination of seeing music as a means to survival and the appreciation that came from living with jazz as a part of his life, Armstrong had a clear path to follow. He had no way of knowing that he would be great, but it's almost as if his drive was somehow akin to his talent. It brought him where he needed to go. Orgill tells the true story poetically; she talks about music "riding in from Lincoln Park on fat molecules of humid air." Orgill alludes to heat often in the narrative, which seems fitting in a story that takes place in New Orleans: "So Louis danced as if the hot blasts of music were scorching his bare feet, grinning as wide as the Big Dipper in the starry sky."

Also poetic in the narrative is the repeated refrain of the song that young Louis wrote. Four times in the story the song that he wrote about wishing for a horn:
If I could sing
I could bring
Home pennies
Play slow drag blues
Tap happy feet blues
Till the sun rose
If only I had a horn
It is interesting the way that this story is set up, because the climax is actually Louis finally getting a horn to play, and leading a triumphant second line that gets more instruments for his band. We do not even need to know what happens later in his life. The refrain of his song and the events of his early life culminate in truly finding his path in a real way.

This is a great book for young children. It is a very readable story about a music legend, told in a way that is accessible and interesting, especially for kids who live in New Orleans. It is a history lesson in the details of life in Armstrong's time.

Also of note are the beautiful illustrations.They are true fine art, that would not be out of place on a wall in a house in Uptown New Orleans. They have a collage effect, and vibrant colors. The book was so much richer for this addition to the text.

I enjoyed this book for it's cultural relevance to NOLA life and the story of one of our heroes.I think students would enjoy it and profit from it as well. ( )
  Melissalorio | Apr 20, 2014 |
Born in adversity Louis armstrong went through poverty to triumph. This book shows what it means to be dedicated. Introduces children to art, culture and history. ( )
  lnfranklin | Sep 15, 2013 |
This how Louis Armstrong had to show a lot of dedication and commitment just to be able to play the horn. This is an outstanding story for kids to feel what it is like to follow a dream. ( )
  ktankers | Sep 2, 2013 |
This relates how the famous jazz trumpeter began his musical career, as a poor boy in New Orleans, by singing songs on street cornors and playing a battered cornet in a marching band. ( )
  bekeelen | Jan 29, 2013 |
This is a book I would highly recommend, especially for those who want their students or children to break into the biography genre. This book allows the reader to get to know a little more about an important American musician as well as get a feel of what New Orleans was like in the early 20th century. While I could categorize this book in the biography genre, the story is still one that will captivate all audiences. ( )
  roseritacco | Nov 14, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 061825076X, Paperback)

Roxane Orgill’s vivid words and Leonard Jenkins’s dramatic pictures combine to tell the story of a boy who grew up to be a giant of jazz—the legendary and beloved Louis Armstrong. As a poor boy in New Orleans, where music was everywhere—dancing out of doorways, singing on street corners, crying from the cornet of the great Joe Oliver for all to hear—Louis longed for a horn so that he too could sing, bring home pennies, and, most of all, tap happy-feet blues till the sun rose. It wasn’t going to be easy. Many things, not all of them good, had to happen before he got his horn. But when at last he did, he sent music spiraling up into the New Orleans night sky like a spinning top gone crazy.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Relates how the famous jazz trumpeter began his musical career, as a poor boy in New Orleans, by singing songs on street corners and playing a battered cornet in a marching band.

(summary from another edition)

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