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Mirette on the High Wire (Mirette #1)

3.98  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,808 Ratings  ·  355 Reviews
Mirette was always fascinated by the strange and interesting people who stayed in her mother's boardinghouse. 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 knows she must repay him for the kindness he has shown her -- and show him that some ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 14th 1997 by Puffin Books (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
35th out of 80 books — 358 voters
Red Is the Color Of... by Tiffany HaistenThe Paper Bag Princess by Robert MunschMira Forecasts the Future by Kell AndrewsRosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea BeatyNot All Princesses Dress in Pink by Jane Yolen
Children's picture books with strong females
12th out of 155 books — 114 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 30, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2013 Suzanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: libs-642
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
Sep 19, 2015 Jillian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Stunning. I can't praise this book enough.

The story was wonderful - little girl sets her mind to something, dedicates herself to it, makes sacrifices to succeed and eventually figures it out. Unwillingly retired superstar steps into a mentorship role and gets his act together.
The pictures were breathtaking - gorgeous watercolors that really made the story. I could picture even the things that were happening between the pages because the world was so well detailed!
And the picture on th
Now this girl has some courage. Maybe it's my fear of heights but the whole time I was reading Emily Arnold McCully's tale about a courageous little French girl and her love of walking on a wire I had the heebie jeebies. The book is filled with great water color illustrations of a little girl who works at her mother's hotel in Paris. When one day an acrobatic legend decides to stay with them. While doing her chores the little girl notices that this man was not an ordinary man and approaches him ...more
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
Mar 29, 2015 Jessicaburdick rated it really liked it
I thought this book did a bad job at parenting. I do not think I would allow my young daughter to perform tight rope acts or even attempt to do so, but I did enjoy that Mirette gave back Belini's his drive to get back into the art of walking on a tight rope.
Morgan Goertz
May 24, 2016 Morgan Goertz rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Candace Nelson
Summary :Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully tells the story of a young girl who works with her mother in one of the best inn’s in France in the early 1900s. Mirette falls in love with walking on tight ropes after she watches a guest, Bellini, at her mother’s inn walk on the laundry line one day. She practices very hard and soon becomes very skilled in tight rope walking, hoping that he will teacher her tricks if she becomes good enough. It is then she discovers Bellini is one of th ...more
Madie Marie
Mar 27, 2016 Madie Marie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture
Picture book number 5- This book starts with a little girl maned Mirette and her mother who owns a boardinghouse in Paris where performers and people from all over come to stay. One man comes to stay who was a high wire walker and Mirette watches him and becomes fascinated. She asks the man to help her learn to walk but he tells her no. She begins to try walking when he is not home and when she learns to walk the entire length of the wire she shows the man. He is proud of her and begins to show ...more
Virginia Urban
Feb 16, 2016 Virginia Urban rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book. I thought it was so imaginative and beautifully written and illustrated. McCully's use of watercolors was phenomenal and really brought the story to life. The enthusiastic spirit of red-headed Mirette practically bursts through the pages of the book. I adore how her courageous and determined spirit is highlighted from the very beginning of the book when she watched Bellini and secretly tries the high wire, all the way up to the end where she meets Bellini in the mid ...more
Isabella Green
Dec 07, 2015 Isabella Green rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Being influenced by all her mother’s miming, acting, singing, and dancing guests, Emily Arnold McCulley writes a story about a girl named Mirette who lives in a small hotel with her mother. One day, she meets a Mister Bellini who happens to be a retired high wire walker. As she watches him walk across the wire in the courtyard, Mirette knows that this is her calling. Without the help of Mister Bellini, Mirette begins to teach herself how to walk across the high wires. Finally with his training a ...more
Andrew Upchurch
Dec 06, 2015 Andrew Upchurch rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This Caldecott winning book is about a young girl named Mirette who works for her mother taking care of guests that stay in her home. Set in Paris one hundred years ago, a man named Bellini came and asked for a room to stay in. Upon making himself at home, Bellini set up a wire back behind the house to practice on. Mirette spent days watching him walk the wire until finally she decided she wanted to go and try to walk the length of the wire. She fell down many times but finally managed to get it ...more
Matthew Hunter
1993 Caldecott winner. The second book about tight rope walking the kids and I have read in the past few days. Mirette on the High Wire's a fictional account, while The Man Who Walked Between the Towers an historical account of Philippe Petit's 1/4-mile high exploits. Both won Caldecott Medals, about 11 years apart.

McCully's watercolors deserve the recognition coming from a Caldecott medal. They're lush and brightly colorful. Mirette's an empowered young heroine who helps her mentor Bellini over
Christine Gray
Mar 08, 2015 Christine Gray rated it really liked it
The Caldecott Metal
Second- Third Grades
Mirette was a very hard working girl who helped her mother to run a boardinghouse located in Paris. After a retired high-wire walker name Bellini came to live at the house the girl became enchanted with walking the wire herself. The problem was Bellini had lost his courage to go out and walk the wires as he had once done. Bellini knew that Mirette was disappointed and he had to do something. He called his agent in and spoke with him rega
Gloria Copeland
Mar 04, 2015 Gloria Copeland rated it really liked it
Emily Arnold McCully copyrighted Mirette on The High Wire in 1992 about a young girl, Mirette who helped her mother run a boarding house whose guest were Vagabond players and drifters over one hundred years ago in Paris. One afternoon a lovely sad faced stranger comes to the end for rest, and the owner Madame Gateau Mirette mom rents him a room in the back by the courtyard. The moment Mirette saw the stranger Bellini walking on the tight rope in the courtyard she became “enchanted” by the magic ...more
Jenna Kennedy
Oct 05, 2014 Jenna Kennedy rated it really liked it
One hundred years ago in Paris a very interesting adventure took place. Madam and her daughter Mirette kept an inn. As the girl would mop and cook, she would listen to the guest’s stories of their great adventures. One day, a man came to stay at their inn. She longs to learn how he performs his tight-rope act, nevertheless he declines her request to be taught. She couldn’t resist and flailed into the wire, but she fell down. Her persistence eventually gets her down the length of the wire! What i ...more
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
This story follows a girl named Mirette who meets wire walking Bellini while working at her mothers boarding house in Paris. The girl finds what Bellini is doing to be fascinating and asks him to teach her to do it as well. At first Bellini is reluctant but after seeing Mirette's perseverance teaches her how to walk the wire. Soon we learn that Bellini has fear of his talent and suddenly student has to become teacher.
This book is full of gorgeous watercolor. The illustrator does a great job keep
Kaelyn O'Brien
Dec 08, 2015 Kaelyn O'Brien rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This book is about a young girl named Mirette who works for her mother taking care of guests that stay in her home. One day a man named Bellini came and asked for a room to stay in. He turned out to be a famous high wire walker. Mirette spent days watching him walk the wire until finally she decided she wanted to go and try to walk the length of the wire. She fell down many times but finally managed to get it down. She then showed the great Bellini what she could do. After turning her down when ...more
Alex Roth
Dec 09, 2014 Alex Roth rated it really liked it
Shelves: tch-lrn-307
This is a story of a young girl named Mirette who eagerly wants to learn how to walk on the high wire when a man named Bellini was staying at her home. Belilin teaches Mirette to walk the high wire and Mirette practices really hard and then learns that Bellini is a very well known high wire walker. I really liked this book because it was a young girl working towards a goal that she had of being a high wire walker. Books like this make me hopeful for young generations to make goals for themselves ...more
Savannah Spaulding
Mirette and her family owns a resort where you can pay to stay for weeks at a time and one time a guest comes and Mirette learns he is a tight rope walker. When she finds out who he is she wants to learn. He is hesitant at first because he is afraid but she helps him overcome the fear and together they become a tight rope walking duo. The illustrations to this book were very pretty and vivid in color. The author chose the color of Mirette’s hair to be red which I think was a good, but bold choic ...more
Summary :Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully tells the story of a young girl who works with her mother in one of the best inn’s in France in the early 1900s. Mirette falls in love with walking on tight ropes after she watches a guest, Bellini, at her mother’s inn walk on the laundry line one day. She practices very hard and soon becomes very skilled in tight rope walking, hoping that he will teacher her tricks if she becomes good enough. It is then she discovers Bellini is one of th ...more
Kristine Hansen
Aug 19, 2015 Kristine Hansen rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while I hit a picture book where the illustrations match the story so perfectly that I have to take a moment to just enjoy the perfect harmony of each page. Mirette is such a book. I love the child and feel her energy. I feel the tiredness and fear of Bellini. And I experience the joy and wonder of the ending where everything comes together so perfectly. Truly this is an enjoyable book, and well worth the Caldecott medal.
Elise Edwards
Apr 22, 2015 Elise Edwards rated it it was amazing
Mirette is the daughter of a hotel owner in Paris. Mirette is great at doing the chores she is assigned, but dreams of more. Her dreams come true when Bellini arrives. Bellini is a retired high-wire walker who comes to the inn to rest for a while. One morning, Mirette finds him walking on a wire and is intrigued by it all. She can't wait to get her feet up on that wire. Mirette wakes up early to get her chores done before she can spend her days practicing. When she finally shows Bellini what she ...more
Shannon McCrea
Oct 08, 2015 Shannon McCrea rated it really liked it
Mirette on the High Wire is written and illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully. This book tells the story of a young girl in Paris, France that teaches a grown up about courage. Mirette saw a man who looked upset walking on the wire. She would go every day to watch him walk on the wire until she was finally tired of waiting and decided to hop on the wire as well, hoping to instill some courage in him.

The watercolor illustrations in this book were absolutely amazing and make the reader feel as thou
Alana Salcido
Sep 08, 2015 Alana Salcido rated it really liked it
This was a heart warming and entertaining story that focused on the events of a young Parisian girl when a special guest comes to stay at her mother's boardinghouse. The story's message is no matter how hard your goal may seem, to always be dedicated to getting better and keeping your eyes forward at all times. This is advice that Mirette has to take literally when she begins interacting with this somber, talented guest.

Not only is this story in one of my favorite cities, the illustrations refl
Apr 29, 2015 Aidan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tch_lrn-307
The illustrations in this book are done in oil paint. There is no empty space on the pages other than where the writing is. “Mirette on The High Wire” is about a young girl who meets the Great Bellini, a tight ropewalker. Mirette was amazed and wanted to do everything he was doing. After many attempts, falls, and fears, she was able to hold her balance and show Bellini all that she had accomplished. In the end, he needed to get over his fear. The moment Mirette saw Bellini on the rope; she knew ...more
Brittaney Reed
Mar 26, 2014 Brittaney Reed rated it liked it
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!
Hollianne Wieland
Mirette lives in a boarding house that her family runs and the story talks about all the interesting people who stay with them. One day a famous tight roper walkers stays at their boarding house and teaches Mirette how to walk a tight rope. I liked how all the pages were ‘fuzzy’ with no hard lines. It made it seem out of focus at first, but it gave it a nice touch to her fantasy. I also like the very vibrant colors, which seemed to be painted or some type of pastel. The illustrations cover both ...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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Mirette (3 books)
  • Starring Mirette & Bellini (Picture Puffins)
  • Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls

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