Children's Lit Book Reviews

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Man Who Walked Between The Towers

By: Mordical Gerstein
Publisher: Square Fish
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 40
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book/Ficition
Award: Caldecott Award

"Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away. Truly affecting is the book's final painting of the imagined imprint of the towers, now existing "in memory"-linked by Philippe and his high wire."
Publishers Weekly

Summary: This book is based on the true story of Philippe Petit, the famous French performer who lived in the great New York City. He was well known for his specialization of tight rope walking. Petit decided that he wanted to walk from one of the towers of the World Trade Center to the other. At that time the towers were still under construction, so Petit and a friend dressed up as construction workers and managed to bring a four-hundred-and forty-pound spool of cable to the roof of one of the towers. With the help of two additional friends on the opposite tower, together they worked hard to connected the cable from one tower to the other, almost risking there very own lives. Then, early the next morning, Philipe Petit picked up his twenty eight foot balancing pole and started his trek from one end of the cable to the other. He spent nearly an hour walking and performing between the two towers. There was one point where he laid down on the pole to take a rest from his performance. Nonetheless, he felt free from the world below. During his whole act, policemen were continuing to yell at him with bullhorns, telling him that he would be under arrest. Once he decided that his act was over, he slowly walked toward the policemen, stretching his hands out so that he could be handcuffed. Eventually he was taken before a judge where the judge sentenced him to perform in the park for the children on New York City.
Who would benefit from reading this book? I think that because this book is based off a true story and holds some historical significance that everyone would benefit from reading it. The story is especially special to those citizens of New York City who might have witnessed this miraculous event. Now, since the towers are no longer standing following 9/11, it means even more to them. It is an easy read and children would be entertained from it.
What problems/concerns could this book potentially cause?: I don't think that there is any problems or concerns contained within this book. However, there might be concern because the performer knew that he was breaking the law and refused to obey the orders of the policemen.
My reaction: I wish I could have been there to see this wonderful event unfold. However, after having read this book, it made me feel like I was somewhat there stand amongst the crowd. I loved this book for the detail in text but also for the gorgeous illustrations also done by Mordical Gerstein. As a future teacher I will be placing this book in my classroom in upcoming years.
posted by Jon Dale at 2:36 PM


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