Main CategoriesYoung ReadersPicture Books and Beginning Readers Man Who Walked Between the Towers, The

Man Who Walked Between the Towers, The

Product no.: 978-0312368784
As this story opens, French funambulist Philippe Petit is dancing across a tightrope tied between two trees to the delight of the passersby in Lower Manhattan.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Gerstein places him in the middle of a balancing act, framed by the two unfinished World Trade Center towers when the idea hits: "He looked not at the towers, but at the space between them and thought, what a wonderful place to stretch a rope".

On August 7, 1974, Petit and three friends, posing as construction workers began their evening ascent from the elevators to the remaining stairs with a 440 pound cable and equipment, prepared to carry out their clever but dangerous scheme to secure the wire. The pacing of the narrative is as masterful as the placement and quality of the oil and ink paintings. The interplay of a single sentence or view with a sequence of thoughts on panels builds to a riveting climax.

A small, framed close-up of Petit's foot on the wire yields to two three-page fold-outs of the walk. One captures his progress from above, the other from the perspective of a pedestrian. The vertiginous views paint the New York skyline in twinkling starlight and at breathtaking sunrise. Gerstein captures his subject's incredible determination, profound skill, and sheer joy. The final scene depicts transparent, cloud-filled skyscrapers, a man in their midst.

Winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal.


"With its graceful majesty and mythic overtones, this unique and uplifting book is at once a portrait of a larger-than-life individual and a memorial to the towers and the lives associated with them."        ~School Library Journal

"Unparalleled use of perspective and line-architectural verticals opposed to the curve of wires and earth-underscore disequilibrium and freedom... 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."       ~Kirkus Reviews

Author Gerstein, Mordicai
Illustrator Gerstein, Mordicai
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 40 pp.
Publisher Square Fish 2007
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