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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
by Mordicai Gerstein
Book Jacket
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780761317913 This effectively spare, lyrical account chronicles Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers in 1974. Gerstein (What Charlie Heard) begins the book like a fairy tale, "Once there were two towers side by side. They were each a quarter of a mile high... The tallest buildings in New York City." The author casts the French aerialist and street performer as the hero: "A young man saw them rise into the sky.... He loved to walk and dance on a rope he tied between two trees." As the man makes his way across the rope from one tree to the other, the towers loom in the background. When Philippe gazes at the twin buildings, he looks "not at the towers but at the space between them.... What a wonderful place to stretch a rope; a wire on which to walk." Disguised as construction workers, he and a friend haul a 440-pound reel of cable and other materials onto the roof of the south tower. How Philippe and his pals hang the cable over the 140-feet distance is in itself a fascinating-and harrowing-story, charted in a series of vertical and horizontal ink and oil panels. An inventive foldout tracking Philippe's progress across the wire offers dizzying views of the city below; a turn of the page transforms readers' vantage point into a vertical view of the feat from street level. When police race to the top of one tower's roof, threatening arrest, Philippe moves back and forth between the towers ("As long as he stayed on the wire he was free"). 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. Ages 5-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780761328681 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.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780761328681 K-Gr 6-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. 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 or panels builds to a riveting climax. A small, framed close-up of Petit's foot on the wire yields to two three-page foldouts 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. 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.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780312368784 Gerstein illustrates the captivating story of Philippe Petit's high-wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. Winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal. (SLJ 11/03) (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780761328681 PreS-Gr. 3. Here's a joyful true story of the World Trade Center from a time of innocence before 9/11. In 1974 French trapeze artist Philippe Petit walked a tightrope suspended between the towers before they were completed. Gerstein's simple words and dramatic ink-and-oil paintings capture the exhilarating feats, the mischief, and the daring of the astonishing young acrobat. He knew his plan was illegal, so he dressed as a construction worker, and, with the help of friends, lugged a reel of cable up the steps during the night and linked the buildings in the sky. As dawn broke, he stepped out on the wire and performed tricks above the city. Gerstein uses varied perspectives to tell the story--from the close-up jacket picture of one foot on the rope to the fold-out of Petit high above the traffic, swaying in the wind. Then there's a quiet view of the city skyline now, empty of the towers, and an astonishing image of the tiny figure high on the wire between the ghostly buildings we remember. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780761328681 K-Gr 6-In 1974, a young Frenchman saw the completion of the World Trade Center towers as an irresistible invitation to stretch a cable between them and dance across it. Gorgeous oil-and-ink paintings capture the aerialist's spirited feat and breathtaking perspectives high above Manhattan harbor. Winner of the 2004 Caldecott Medal. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780439767170 K-Gr 4-Mordicai Gerstein's 2004 Caldecott Medal winning book (Roaring Brook, 2003) expressively conveys the joy and skill of French trapeze artist Philippe Petit and his amazing 1974 tightrope walk between the two World Trade Center towers during their construction. The animated adaptation of the book, superbly narrated by actor Jake Gyllenhaal, captures the awe and whimsy of Petit's tale. Sound effects add to the atmosphere and wonder of the story. The text is constructed with a paucity of words that read like poetry. Gerstein's oil and ink paintings are breathtaking. This exciting, touching, and haunting tale is a testament to Petit's determination and a fine memorial to the towers.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Memorial Library, Sag Harbor, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.