Reviewed by Miss Dewey at Orenda
Four paw prints. Once there was a young man named Philippe Petit. He was born and raised in France, and he was expected to be a good student and eventually have a good job. But, this is NOT what Philippe Petit had in mind. Philippe was not interested in school (he was kicked out of a number of schools) but he was interested in circus acts. He was interested in things like magic, juggling, and tightrope walking. He knew he didn't want to be in the circus so he taught himself everything he felt he wanted to learn. Soon he was doing his own shows and "stunts". This led to many interesting tightrope performances. One of his most famous shows/stunts was in New York City, which is where the story in this book takes place. In the early 1970s two new skyscrapers were being built. Most people were interested in the towers, but Philippe was interested in the space between the towers. He wanted to walk between the towers. With the help of friends, he was able to sneak into one of the towers, string strong cable across to the other tower, and walk/dance/bow to the people on the ground. Though his show was beautiful (at least to some) to see, it was illegal. In the end, Philippe was punished for his crime, but it was a very interesting punishment. Strangely enough, I like this book because of the way it handles the events of 9/11. The events of this day are mentioned but they have little to do with the story.
Yet, this is what makes the story work so well. The story is about an important event in New York City history without letting the events of 9/11 overshadow Philippe and his unique accomplishment. This is a (dare I say) wonderful way to introduce young students to the events of 9/11 without focusing on just the sadness of that horrible day. To find more books by Mordicai Gerstein, visit http://www.mordicaigerstein.com/.