This picture book biography of the young Louis Armstrong paints a picture of his wayward childhood on the streets of New Orleans where his happy disposition and big smile earn him the nickname Satchelmouth. His brushes with the law cause him to be sent away to reform school at the age of eleven, but here, he joins a marching band, becoming a virtuoso on the cornet (though in later years the trumpet is his instrument of choice). Back home at 14, he finds a mentor in Joe Oliver, the renowned horn player and is soon playing with bands that play swing and dance music all over town. Later on, Louis is invited to join his hero in Chicago where he is soon fronting Joe's band and on his way to fame and fortune. The text is brought to life by James Ransome's wonderful illustrations with their double spreads depicting the night-time culture of river boats and honky-tonks and with many close-ups on the faces of people enraptured by playing or listening to music. An afterword gives a factual summary of Louis Armstrong's whole career.