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

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  209 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
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 w ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published December 7th 2010 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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Joshua Hatley
Nov 29, 2012 Joshua Hatley rated it really liked it
I just recently finished reading Play, Louis, Play! by: Muriel Harris Weinstein. This book is about a boy named Louis Armstrong. The main characters are Louis, Mayann, and Joe Oliver. I was surprised when he got SO much money for just playing his trumpet on the streets. I think Louis feels good because he saved his FAMILY by raising lots of money. If it were me, ... I would do the same, exact thing. I was kinda upset because they didn't make it longer. I think you will like Play, Louis, Play! Ov ...more
Roxanne Dillon
Jun 17, 2012 Roxanne Dillon rated it it was amazing
I loved this delightful book! It is the story of Louis Armstrong told through his first cornet. The book is full of figurative language that enhances the author's descriptions. I think children will love this book and it may even spark more interest in this talented man. I plan on reading it to my students as an introduction to his music.
Stevie D
Oct 29, 2012 Stevie D rated it it was amazing
I just finished Play Louis Play by Muriel Harris Weinstein. This story is about the famous trumpet player Louis Armstrong. I was surprised to learn that he grew up as a very poor boy and worked in the coal mines. He saved up his coal mine money to buy his first horn. The rest of the story tells us about how other people and musicians help him become successful.
Timothy M
Oct 23, 2012 Timothy M rated it really liked it
This a great biography!
Bodhi K.
Nov 13, 2012 Bodhi K. rated it it was amazing
I recently read Muriel Harris Weinstein's Play, Louis, Play! The book is about Louis Armstrong and how he became famous. Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was brought up poor and was always looking for ways to make money for his family. I can relate to this when last year I worked and studied really hard for the Spelling Bee and I won the Spelling Bee. After I won the Spelling Bee I felt really good. He frequently listened to music during festivals. One day Louis saw his mo ...more
I've been a Louis Armstrong fan for as long as I can remember, literally. My very favorite album every is Ella and Louis Again (try it, you'll love it!). So when I saw this near the library checkout, I had to grab it, even though (once again) I'm hardly the intended audience. This is a very nice little biography for the 6-10 crowd. I may have bumped it up a star because of the fantastic pen and ink drawings by Frank Morrison, but it was very enjoyable all around. The gimmick of telling the story ...more
Jun 26, 2012 Susie rated it liked it
Shelves: texas-bluebonnet
Audience: grades 3-5

Story: A short biography of Louis Armstrong concentrating on his childhood in New Orleans told narratively from the perspective of his first horn. Biographical references are included at the end as well as a glossary.

Illustrations: black and white charcoal

"This music, the music the colored musicians made, was like wings carrying him to heaven."
Feb 03, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Great story for kids (and adults) to learn facts about "The Great Satchmo." It teaches them to make good choices, to keep a positive attitude, to work hard at whatever you have to do, and to never give up your dreams. I agree with Lisa that it overdoses on similes and metaphors.
Christian H
it is good
May 18, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Cute book about Louis Armstrong told by his first coronet.
Margo Tanenbaum
Feb 21, 2011 Margo Tanenbaum rated it really liked it
This new biography of jazz great Louis Armstrong tells the story of his childhood from the perspective of his first trumpet, bought from a run-down pawn shop in New Orleans. This unusual narrator provides a distinctly different point of view in this engaging biography for young children.

Author Weinstein describes Armstrong's very poor childhood in the toughest neighborhood in New Orleans (known as The Battlefield), but notes that Louis never complained; "he said [complaints] hurt his ears as muc
Justice Parker
Apr 27, 2016 Justice Parker rated it really liked it
Louis Armstrong is a famous musician and is best known for his incredible talent for playing jazz with his trumpet. The story is told in the point of view of Loui’s trumpet and the hard work he has put into buying his very first trumpet. The story also tells the struggles he and his family went through and how he help his family by playing jazz with his friends in New Orleans

Circular Connections: For this book, I encourage teachers to take the time to the school to read a few chapters, a more un
Teresa Scherping Moulton
Louis Armstrong started out as a little boy with a big smile on the streets of New Orleans, and his very first cornet, bought from the corner store, saw it all. He saw Louis parading down the street, saw him shoveling coal to make enough money to feed his family, saw him go away to a reform school where he discovered more opportunities to perform the music he loved. Louis had hard times, when he couldn't find anything to feed his mother and sister but old dried beans. But Louis had happy times, ...more
Oct 13, 2015 Laura rated it it was amazing
Shelves: child-fiction
This sweet little book speaks from the point-of-view of Louis Armstrong's first trumpet. It tells of how hard his childhood was, Louis' natural musical abilities, and the many people who helped him along the way.

This children's book was an easy read (less than 100 pages, picture on every other page, 10 chapters) for me as an adult. I learned a lot about Louis Armstrong.

In a subtle way, it reinforces the lesson that those who become great (especially from crushing poverty) rarely do it alone. Thi
Mar 06, 2016 Amber rated it really liked it
Curricular connections: This book has many great lessons involved within it. For example, this book could be a great lesson on learning the different variations of music, like jazz. This book would be a focus on the jazz era and how many diverse genres there are.
117.115 Music, Grade 4:
(5) Historical and cultural relevance. The student examines music in relation to history and cultures. The student is expected to:
(C) identify and describe music from diverse genres, styles, periods, and cultures;
Jan 10, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
In Play Louis Play young louis armstrong lives in a poor house with little food and manages to support his family by singing on street ,but he secretly wants to use the money he earns to buy a horn he saw in a shop window . Louis got arrested when stole a small banana from the grocery and said that it was not wrong because it wasn't valuble . louis later goes to the store to buy the horn ,but another kid is holding it may take it . Will Louis get the horn read Play Louis Play.
Jun 12, 2012 Handd51 rated it it was amazing
This fictional biography of Louis Armstrong is written from the point of view of his first trumpet. The perspective is strong and allows the narration a really personal feel. Louis was a determined boy from very young who faced many hardships growing up in the worst areas of New Orleans and shunted from one house to another - but throughout, he fed on the music that surrounded him. A great read, and very useful in writing lessons.
Lori Holbein-Gutierrez
Jun 25, 2012 Lori Holbein-Gutierrez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This story was written with a with the voice of the famous Louis Armstrong's horn. It goes back to the younger years of Louis life and travels up through his adult years. This engaging biography describes the hardships Louis faced in a way that younger students can enjoy and understand. Louis' younger years took place during one of the most difficult time of our nations history.... The Great Depression. The horn details Louis' passion for music, especially jazz and the love for his family.
Teresa Garrett
I put off reading this book for some reason or another and now that I have finished it I regret waiting so long. This biography of Louis Armstrong is told from the viewpoint of his first cornet. Louis really started out with the deck stacked against him but managed to keep an optimistic outlook. Who would have ever thought reform school could be the highlight of someone's life. Great introduction to Louis Armstrong.
Jan 31, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
A great introduction to biography and Louis Armstrong with wonderful illustrations.  Initially, the writing seemed too heavy with metaphors, though some were vivid descriptions.  His life was not always so happy and some of the details discussed are tragic though dealt with in a manner appropriate for young readers.
Jan 27, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it
While children might get confused while following a story told from the point of view of a cornet, this biography is written at a good level for kids. It contains some interesting and inspirational information about one of the greatest musicians of all time. The Afterward, Glossary and References are helpful additions.
Jun 14, 2012 Cinda rated it really liked it

Learn about the life of jazz great Louis Armstrong in this unusual biography told from the perspective of one of his favorite companions--his horn! Find out how a child from New Orleans became one of the most famous musicians in the world even though he was so poor as a child he had no bathroom, no electricity, and no running water!
May 09, 2012 Deb rated it really liked it
Very readable and nice length for elementary age. Because it is told in narrative style and focuses primarily on childhood, it doesn't work for school research. This is definitely a book to read for fun. Armstrong was one cool cat!
This children's biography is inspiring and enjoyable, written as if from Armstrong's own cornet's perspective, with colorful and vivid prose, yet also making sure readers learn accurate details. The afterword helps children understand the enormous impact Armstrong had on this world.
Jul 04, 2012 Melanie rated it really liked it
TX Bluebonnet Nominee. I really enjoyed this book. I read it to my 3rd graders, and they really enjoyed it, too. The descriptive writing is fantastic. Real music and footage of Louis Armstrong while reading the book really gets kids interested in learning more about the man.
Nancy Jo Lambert
Wow! I had low expectations of this book, but it is really a great book for kids. I especially loved how the horn told the story. This book is full of gems and great, heart warming and heart wrenching moments from Louis Armstrong's childhood. This will be a great read aloud!
Stephanie Sapp
The story of Louis Armstrong told from the point of view of his horn. Little Louis suffered a tough childhood while growing up in New Orleans. My problem with the book was with some of the unnecessary cutesy fluff items thrown in. I think it would have been better as a picture book.
Sherry Philippus
This is an engaging biography, told from the point-of-view of Louis Armstrong's very first horn. It really gives an uncommon view into Armstrong's childhood and the factors that shaped his life and career. Some very nice writing, too!
Mar 27, 2012 Bethe rated it liked it
very accessible biography for children, reads very much like a story, which would make fact finding for reports a bit harder. at first glance the narration by Louis' first trumpet seems strange, but that is also what may make the bio so appealing to children.
Feb 21, 2012 Ofilia rated it really liked it
I picked this up during my lunch break today--what a charming book! It's told from the point of view of the trumpet. How often do you get to read a story told by a trumpet? It's really positive and delightful, despite all of the hardships Louis had to face. A really fun and engaging read.
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MURIEL HARRIS WEINSTEIN's poems have appeared in The Comstock Review, Nassau Review, Kent State Review, Nexus, and many anthologies. She lives in New York.
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