Like Schroeder's first book, Ragtime Tumpie (1989), and his recent Minty (p. 537), this is a fictionalized account of the childhood of a great American. Louis Armstrong's first musical experiences, while listening to the jazz and ragtime blaring from the honky-tonks, dance halls, and street bands in the tough New Orleans neighborhood of his childhood, are the backdrop for his struggle to acquire his own horn. The soft, rosy, and golden-brown tones of Cooper's paintings cast a romantic glow over a story that was much more shadowed and chancy than Schroeder makes it sound. Still, the incredible drive that carried Armstrong from poverty to worldwide fame is shown clearly in young Louis's singleminded pursuit of a dream, and therein lie the book's message and its appeal. Curiously, the origin of the nickname ""Satchmo"" is never explained and is not used in the story, appearing only in the author's note.