Edge Library


Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A spare recounting of Philippe Petit's daring 1974 wire walk between the Twin Towers depicts him as a street performer who defies authority to risk his feat, is arrested, and then sentenced to perform for the children of New York. At the conclusion, on the only non-illustrated page are the stark words, "Now the towers are gone," followed by the changed skyline and finally by a skyline on which are etched the ghost-like shapes of the towers as memory of the buildings and of Petit's exploit. At the heart are the spreads of Petit on the narrow wire, so far above the city that Earth's curve is visible. Two ingenious gatefolds draw readers' eyes into the vertiginous sweep of wirewalker—sky and city below. Unparalleled use of perspective and line—architectural verticals opposed to the curve of wires and earth—underscore disequilibrium and freedom. In a story that's all about balance, the illustrations display it exquisitely in composition. Readers of all ages will return to this again and again for its history, adventure, humor, and breathtaking homage to extraordinary buildings and a remarkable man. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5+) Copyright ŠKirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Is this another September 11 book? No--and yes. In 1974, Philippe Petit, the French street performer and high-wire walker, couldn't resist the temptation to dance between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Gerstein pulls the reader into the story with a conversational style extended by playful pen and paint illustrations. Like Petit, Gerstein conceals much careful planning behind an obvious enjoyment of his subject. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

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