Mirette on the High Wire
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Mirette on the High Wire (Mirette #1)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  6,008 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Mirette was always fascinated by the strange and interesting people who stayed in her mother's boarding house. But no one excited her as much as Bellini, who walks the clothesline with the grace and ease of a bird. When Mirette discovers that fear has kept him from performing for years, she sets out to show him that sometimes a student can be the greatest teacher of all. F...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 14th 1997 by Puffin (first published January 1st 1992)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskeyThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack KeatsThe Polar Express by Chris Van AllsburgThe Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Caldecott Medal Winners
31st out of 77 books — 277 voters
The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakFlotsam by David WiesnerMadeline by Ludwig BemelmansMake Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
List for #nerdcott
22nd out of 325 books — 31 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kathryn
When Mirette meets "The Great Bellini"--a boarder at her mother's boarding house and a famous ("retired") high wire walker, she is very impressed. She loves to watch him walk wires in the yard and her feet are all jittery on solid ground now--she wants to walk wires, too! But soon she learns that fear has entered Bellini's heart and that he feels he cannot perform on the high wire any more. Will Mirette's faith in him, and her youthful enthusiasm, rescue him from his crippling fear?

While the sto...more
Suzanne
Mirette on the High Wire is a story about a young girl in 19th century Paris and a famous high-wire walker who comes to stay at her mother's boarding house.

A nice curriculum connection for this book might be to compare it with Mordecai Gernstein's, "The Man Who Walked Between Two Towers" and discuss the differences between fiction and non-fiction.

I really liked the themes explored here of perseverance and courage to overcome fears. The relationship between Mirette and the great Bellini was swe...more
L13_Terry
Emily Arnold McCully's 'Mirette on the High Wire' is a story of revered fascination, determination, and the power of the youthful spirit. Based on a real-life daredevil that McCully researched, this 1993 recipient of the Ralph Caldecott Medal tells the story of Bellini-a retired high wire artist who retreats to a place of solitude when his career and his enthusiasm enter a state of retreat. Unbeknownest to him, Bellini would soon encounter a young girl named Mirette who slaves in domestic chores...more
Barbara
The author/illustrator of this Caldecott Award winner evokes the feel of Paris from a century ago in her story. When a new boarder comes to stay at her mother's boarding house, Mirette realizes that he has secrets. His ability to walk across a high wire inspires her to try to do the same so that she is almost flying across the rooftops. But she falls, over and over again. Through her own bravery and determination, she improves, and when fear paralyzes him during an actual performance, it is her...more
Melody Wolen
Reading Level: 4th grade
This book is set one-hundred years ago in Paris. Mirette is a young girl who is the daughter of a boardinghouse owner that houses many famous people. Bellini a retired tight rope walker comes to stay with them and befriends Mirette. Mirette hears people talking about Bellini and the embarrassment of his retirement. She asks him about and he explains that once you have the fear of tight-ropes you can’t get over it. Mirette soon learns to walk in the sky and to everyone’s a...more
Brittaney Reed
McCully, E.A. (1992). Mirette on the high wire. New York: Penguin Young Readers Group.

"Mirette on the High Wire", by Emily Arnold McCully follows a young girl who is fascinated with a guest at her mother's hotel named "The Great Bellini". Bellini is a high wire walker. Mirette watches him practice and decides she wants to learn! Mirette finds out that "The Great Bellini" has let fear of the wire overcome him and at the night of a performance he is frozen on the high wire. Mirette to the rescue!...more
Megan
This is a book about a little girl who learns to cross a high wire from the famous Bellini—the man who crossed Niagara Falls in 10 minutes on the high wire. She learns not to give up when she falls, and she learns to focus only on the wire. When Bellini was scared, she was there to help him and became part of his show as his prodigy. The illustrations in this book are simple but fitting. The colors are warm, except Mirette is always brightly colored with her bright orange hair and her blue dress...more
Brandi Larsen
I love this book. Love, love, love, love, love this book.

It captures our imagination and it's an inspiring tale about what you can do when you go after your dreams (with a lot of practice). I also like the secondary message of how you can inspire others with your actions. The illustrations are beautiful, and the language is perfect. I'm always so happy when my daughter chooses this book to read. (And she chooses it a lot because it's one of her favorites, too.)

I work at Penguin Random House, tho...more
Josiah
Mirette on the High Wire is a book with tremendous heart. Only a few times have I seen such a high quality of writing among Caldecott Medal winners in addition to their consistently fine artwork.

Mirette, a French girl living with her mother at the boardinghouse that they own, becomes fascinated with a mysterious new tenant who walks on a high wire stretched between two low buildings outside. Mirette secretly decides to emulate the man, and within a week her practice sessions have netted her si...more
Rachel
Mirette lives with her mother in their boarding house in late 19th century Paris, which is always filled with actors and circus performers, who not only are colorful characters but tell fascinating stories. One day, a sad old man comes to live with them. He keeps to himself, but Mirette notices him walking across the laundry rope and decides she wants to give it a try herself. She falls off a lot but eventually stays on, and this is when he decides to teach her what he knows. It turns out that t...more
Scott Pagel
I read this to see how awesome it must be in order to beat out The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales for the 1993 Caldecott medal. First of all, I am not certain exactly how the Caldecott is awarded. I know that the award goes to "the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children", but I'm not certain if the selection of "most distinguished" is determined solely from the artwork or if it is a combination of artwork and text.

In either case, Mirette on a High W...more
Linda
It’s always good to find a book that offers a flavor of another time and place. Mirette On The High Wire does that well. The illustrations capture the flavor of France’s impressionists in lovely watercolor.
The time is 100 years ago in Paris, where a little girl named Mirette is the daughter of the boardinghouse owner. As she goes about her chores, she notices a man named Bellini who keeps to himself, is not interested in interacting with anyone, especially young girls. Mirette discovers that he...more
Emily Smith
Mirette on the High Wire is a historical fiction book that takes place in Paris. Acrobats, jugglers, actors, and mimes would stay at a boardinghouse on English Street, run by the widow Gateau. One day, a high-wire walker came to stay at the boardinghouse but wanted to keep to himself. Madame Gateau's daughter Mirette was amazed when she saw Bellini walking across a tight rope across the courtyard. She really wanted to be a tight walker too but Bellini told her not to do it because her feet would...more
Nancy O'Toole
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacey
Mirette on the Highwire written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully is the 1993 Caldecott winner. McCully tells the story of a young girl, Mirette, who works in her mother’s boarding house. One night, the “sad-faced” Bellini arrives to live in isolation. Days later Mirette finds him walking on a tight rope and her interest is piqued. Her desire to walk on the wire grows when she hears about the many dangerous feats Bellini has accomplished in his lifetime. Yet, she comes to find out that he...more
Avery Maxwell
Mirette on the High Wire, written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully, tells the tale of a young girl yearning to learn the ways of tight rope walking once she meets a famous high wire walker named Bellini. The illustrations in this book were wonderful in that they illuminated the main characters in each page by slightly fading out the rest of the people on the page. For example, when Mirette was running through the crowd of people to see what was going on with Bellini, her blue dress and re...more
Elena Hitch
Mirette on the High Wire was one of the most unique children’s books I have ever read. It was not a regular book because the story was set in Paris one hundred years ago. Mirette worked at a boarding house with her mother where jugglers, actors, mimes, and other people in the same field would stay. One day, a tight rope walker showed up to stay and kept to himself. When Mirette saw him walking on his wire one day, she wanted to learn how to do it. He trained her, but then confessed that he was r...more
Melissa
Mirette on the High Wire is definitely a book meant for an older grouping of children. The fact that it is a historical fiction story will make it much more valuable to and easier for older elementary and even middle school students to understand. I think historical picture story books are extremely important to introduce to children because they allow student readers to better understand the past by relating to characters their own ages in different time and place settings. This particular stor...more
Amy Musser
One hundred years ago in Paris young Emily lived with her mother, Madame Gâteau, who owned a boardinghouse for acrobats, jugglers, actors, and mimes from around the world. One day a tall, sad-faced stranger arrived. He was the great retired high-wire walker, Bellini. The next day when Emily went to the courtyard to hang up the laundry she found Bellini walking across the laundry line! She begged Bellini to teach her how to walk on the high-wire, but he refused. But Emily was determined and after...more
Ashley Field
This story is about a the Great Bellini who is encouraged to overcome his fear by a determined little girl named Mirette. She wants to know how to cross the courtyard on air and is inspired by this man who once was great at what he did, and she has no idea. The illustrations in this book are watercolor and are very aesthetically pleasing. The colors on each page capture the readers attention and it is impossible to continue to the next page without admiring the artwork of McCully. Something wort...more
Karen
Mirette is a young girl who works at the boarding house that her mother owns. This boarding house is one of the favorite boarding houses among different types of performers during the late 1800-early 1900s. Mirette loves to listen to the different stories told by these performers. One day a strange man comes in to stay at the boarding house. Mirette finds him the next day walking on the line outside used for laundry. She is in awe. She becomes determined to do the same, even though Bellini, the...more
Rilee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alexandria
This story is about a young girl named Mirette who longs to learn how to tight rope walk after the famous Bellini comes to stay in her town. After much tenacity and perseverance Mirette finally convinces Bellini to teach her how to walk on the tight rope; creating not only a special bond between the two, but forever changing their lives. This is a great story that teaches readers about the importance of practice and how trying something new can be fun and pay off in the long run.

Illustrator and...more
Q_Barb
This Caldecott winner is the fictional story set in Paris a hundred years, of a young girl, named Mirette, who lives in her widow mother's boarding house that is a destination for vagabond entertainers. One of them, Bellini, teaches the girl to walk on a high wire and only later does she learn that he is a famous high wire dare devil. When he tells her he can no longer walk the wire because of fear, she helps him in a sweet conclusion.
Illustrating with watercolor in the Impression style, McCu...more
Grace Willits
The fantastical sport of walking across a wire hundreds of feet above a waterfall, crowd or the Alps is captured appropriately by water color illustrations in this picture book. Arnold McCully uses colorful shading to show the different details of the realistic images. Watercolor creates a blurry effect, however the emotions that characters feel are easily seen on their faces, enhancing the stories emotional appeal. Readers are able to understand how Mirette feels when she is practicing on the w...more
Natalie Hendry
This story is about a boarding house where all of the circus performers stay. Mirette and her mother make sure their guest stay very comfortable. They get to listen to the many stories of the circus performers. One day a man, who was a high wire walker, came to stay in the boarding house. The next day Mirette saw the man walking across his high wire and became curious. She then asked for the man to teach her, but the man sadly said no because he said her feet would never be happy on the ground a...more
Jordan Davis
The story begins with Mirette listening to her mother talk to guest. She worked non stop and was very quiet all the time. One day, she looked outside and she saw a man, Bellini, walking on the wire. She began to watch him every single day and fell in love with what he was doing. She tried doing this by herself when no one was around, but would fall every single time. She continued to try over and over again. After many weeks of trying she finally could walk the length of the wire. She showed bel...more
Tanna
Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully takes you back one hundred years to Paris, France. In this story Mirette, a young girl who lives with her mother in a boarding house filled with circus performers. One day she sees a retired high-wire walker, the great Bellini, walking across a laundry rope. She then becomes fascinated and determined to become a tightrope walker too. The illustrations of this book encompass the high spirits and determination of a young girl and her encouragement t...more
Brigid Keely
"Mirette on the High Wire," by Emily Arnold McCully, is the Caldecott award winning story about Mirette. Mirette works at her mother's boarding house for performers in France, cleaning and cooking. One day, she meets a quiet man named Bellini who, as it turns out, is a high wire artist. She stubbornly insists on learning to walk the wire as well, and Bellini teaches her what he knows on the laundry line in the court yard. Mirette also discovers that Bellini has THE FEAR and no longer performs. C...more
Becky Martin
Mirette is a young girl who dreams of being a star, and she discovers her new talent when a guest comes to stay at her hotel. McCully uses watercolor paintings to bring her story to new heights. While the images are not very defined, this blurriness allows the reader to see how fast moving some of these scenes can be. McCully uses bright colors throughout the book, and she also uses different colors to separate different building, people, etc. McCully adds small details into her illustrations th...more
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Emily Arnold McCully received the Caldecott Medal for Mirette on the High Wire. The illustrator of more than 40 books for young readers, she divides her time between Chatham, New York, and New York City.
More about Emily Arnold McCully...
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