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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
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About the Author

Mordicai Gerstein is the author and illustrator of The Man Who Walked Between the Towers, winner of the Caldecott Medal, and has had four books named New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. His works include The Boy and the Whale, How to Bicycle to the Moon to Plant Sunflowers, and illustrations for Applesauce Season.

Reviews

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 Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away. Truly affecting." --Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)"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 (Starred Review)"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 (Starred Review)

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