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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
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The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  14,891 ratings  ·  1,804 reviews
From a highly-respected picture book author/illustrator comes a lyrical evocation of Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers. ...more
Hardcover, 34 pages
Published 2003 by Scholastic Inc.
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Average rating 4.16  · 
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 ·  14,891 ratings  ·  1,804 reviews

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1st: The kids went wild over this book. The niece kept asking me if this was made up. She couldn't believe this was something that was possible. I had to show her the real live photo of him doing this. My nephew thought this was the coolest thing ever. Every drawing of the walk he said, WOW! They both loved the fold outs in the book of the towers. It was fun to read with them and see their amazement.

The book did a nice job catching the spirit of the event. The art has a movement to it. I love th
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully told. Unlike some picture book biographies, it is not dense, it feels light and free, like Petit himself when he is on the highwire. I felt that it captured the spirit of this remarkable man and provided just enough details to really make the story feel alive. The illustrations compliment the text in a superb way. I thought the use of the pull-out pages to make the wire seem longer, the towers seem higher, was quite clever. I also felt that the tragedy of Sept. 11th was dealt with in ...more
Yes, I do indeed and well realise that Mordicai Gerstein's The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is both a Caldecott and a Boston Globe-Horn Book award winner, and indeed, on a certain level, I have actually even somewhat enjoyed The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (and have definitely found Gerstein's accompanying illustrations evocative, descriptive, nuanced and yes, simply aesthetically beautiful). However and that all having been said (and on an entirely personal and emotional level), when ...more
May 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
This is a lovely children's book about Philippe Petit, a French street performer who daringly snuck into the World Trade Center in August 1974, strung a cable between the Twin Towers and then walked on the wire, 1,350 feet above ground. Petit and his high-wire stunts been featured in several films, including the Oscar-winning documentary "Man on Wire."

I was working in the juvenile section of my library when I discovered this beautifully illustrated book about him. It's an amazing story, but, sin
Book Concierge
From the book jacket: In 1974, as the World Trade Center was being completed, a young French aerialist, Philippe Petit, threw a tightrope between the two towers and spent almost an hour walking, dancing and performing tricks a quarter of a mile in the sky.

My reactions
Gerstein brings the sense of awe and wonder to Petit’s amazing feat. He also recognizes the illegality of the stunt and that Petit was arrested and charged with a crime for trespassing, though his sentence was to perform free for th
Jun 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
An amazing true story about a man who walked a high wire between the twin towers as it was being built in 1974. (A year before I was born) Another well-deserved Caldecott award winner, the illustrations do much for adding to the amazing story of this man. The change in reading the book from vertically to horizontally on some pages with some pages folded over for extended pictures really adds to the book. As well as the poignant reminder at the end of the book that the twin towers no longer stand ...more
I watched the Academy Award-winning documentary Man on Wire last night in preparation for re-reading Mordicai Gerstein's Caldecott Medal book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. The event celebrated in the book, Philippe Petit's high wire walk between the towers of the World Trade Center, just seemed crazy to me, until I met Petit, up close and personal, in the film. He was a man with an impossible dream that he was ultimately able to achieve by the force of his own determination and irrepr ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-for-kids
I think I might have really liked this book as a kid. Shit happens though and what I might have liked as a kid I don't really care for anymore. ...more
Karen Witzler
I've always been interested in the high wire walker and the art of moving in high places as a spiritual practice - cathedral builders, Mohawk skyscraper builders, the Wallendas - and this children's picture book captures something of that. Philippe Petit's feat/stunt can never be repeated or surpassed as the structures themselves were defeated. An interesting pinpoint in history, artfully presented by Gerstein. ...more
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
2004 Caldecott
Philippe had walked between the steeples of Notre Dame Cathedral in his home city of Paris. Why not do the same to the World Trade Center towers in NY City? The rope had to be installed in secret, at night (pre mega-surveillance equipment). Scary task with friends.
He walked at sunrise on Aug 7, 1974. The double-wide fold-out pages capture this well.
The police were waiting on the other side, so he turned around and enjoyed an hour up at 1/4 mile above the ground. He even had the sk
I never heard about Philippe Petit or his famous tightrope walk between the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in 1974, so it's not surprising that I was blown away by the story. I mean, I couldn't believe it really happened! But obviously it did, and here's the proof:

Gerstein's illustrations capture the magnitude and drama of Philippe's accomplishment perfectly. I got dizzy just by looking at the pictures, haha!

By the way, Philippe Petit really did lie down to rest in the middle of a 5/8-inch tig
2004 Caldecott Medal

In 1974, a French aerialist, Philippe Petit, tightrope walked between the Twin Towers. This nonfiction picture book has beautiful illustrations, a few foldout pages to enhance his "dance" between the towers, and the story itself is exciting to read. My kids kept asking me, " Did this REALLY happen? Is this a true story?" They all thoroughly enjoyed this story.
Amar Pai
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-books
Beautiful story, beautifully told. I was taken aback by the end when he points out that the towers aren't there anymore... I told my kids, that's a story for another time! If you liked Man on Wire (and who didn't?) you'll like this. ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My son and I absolutely adored this book. Between the true life events and the way the author handled the tribute to the twin towers at the end, it was lovely. Fabulous writing and illustrations. I 100% recommend this book to elementary aged kids. Heck, it was such a great story I think anyone of any age will enjoy it. I sure did!
Jan 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
“Once there were two towers side by side.” This first sentence in The Man Who Walked between the Towers immediately elicits an emotional response for readers old enough to have witnessed the events of September 11, 2001. This brilliantly illustrated and written book relates a story about the World Trade Center towers that is uplifting, courageous and inspirational.
Mordicai Gerstein skillfully chronicles the adventure of Philippe Petit, a street performer, who walked on a tight rope between the T
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
I actually read this book on 9/11/12, because my friend had read it to her class that day and she had it in her pile of children's books and since I am fascinated with the Twin Towers, I decided to read it. Obviously it is a children's book so it's short and to the point. It's all about a man named Philippe Petit, a high wire artist who walked between the two towers in the early '70's. He (and a few buddies who helped him with this feat) had to sneak into the towers and bring up all kinds of equ ...more
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book features daring feats, crazy acrobatics, and a police arrest. Obviously it was an immediate hit with my 4 year old. It tells the true story of Philippe Petit, who managed to sneak into the under construction World Trade Center and tightrope walk between the towers. Most interesting to me was the part about how he got the wire in place, most interesting to my son was how he managed to spend hours going back and forth on the wire before he decided to climb off for his arrest.

Michelle Doerr
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I cannot believe I never read or heard of this book before now! I never even knew about Petit and his high-wire dancing! This is a nonfiction book which primary through advanced readers can enjoy. This book received the Caldecott Medal in 2004. I rated this book 5 star because I truly enjoyed the way the illustrations and words complimented each other. The story is about Philippe Petit and his daring choice to walk and dance on a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers in 1974. Without t ...more
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is a beautiful book by Mordicai Gerstein. It tells the story of a tight rope walker who walked between the Twin Towers in New York City. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004 and was published by Roaring Book Press/Millbrook Press.
I love to use this book around September 11th. It is a way to tell some of the history of the Twin Towers, as well as talk about what happened on 9/11. Many of my students in second grade, who weren't even born yet, have heard a
Alison Strandell
May 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations are beautiful and the story is moving in this picture book. It considers the event of the 9/11 attacks through the perspective of events surrounding Philippe Petit, the tightrope walker who crossed between the Twin Towers in NYC in 1974.
kaylee white the trash bag
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nov 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: info-bios
The sotry about street entertainer from 1974 Philippe Petit and his daring walk between the twin towers. Death defying even in the illustrations is sure to keep the reader turning pages!
I liked learning about Philippe as I didn't know this story. I believe it is important to learn the history of the Twin Towers as well, but the end felt disconnected to me from the rest of the story. I enjoyed the illustrations. Read for Info Books for Youth for grad school. ...more
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
A lyrical and beautifully illustrated recounting of the true story of a 1974 French aerialist crossing between the twin towers on a tightrope.

Ages 4-10

The illustrations in this book are amazing. The use of perspective creates an almost dizzying effect. This is showcased in the two center pages that fold out to display the height of the tightrope walker. As for the story, it is exciting and suspenseful as we wait to see if Philipe will succeed at his great attempt to cross between the legendary t
Kirsten Whisler
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was super interesting. I didn't know that someone actually walked across the twin towers. It gave me anxiety just reading the book. Obviously he survived but wow I can't even imagine being there. ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
The beautiful illustrations and simple words tell the story of the French aerialist Phillipe Petit. In 1974, Phillipe and his friends sneaked in to the unfinished World Trade Center buildings and set a plan in to motion that would allow Phillipe to tight rope walk between the two towers. This story is certain to intrigue young readers and it preserves an interesting moment in history!
Lacey Luce
Oct 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers
By: Mordicai Gerstein
Caldecott Medal Winner

Gerstein, M. (2004). The man who walked between the towers. Roaring Brook.

1. Contemporary- Historical Picture Book

2. This book takes you on a journey of a man who decided he wanted to tight rope walk across the twin towers buildings in New York. Since no one would allow him to do such a dangerous stunt, he dressed up as a construction worker to manage his way to the tops of the building. He successfully made it acr
Paige Scott
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1) This is an awesome book to use in the classroom! It is about an aerialist that follows his dreams that he has always longed to do. He started out juggling and balancing in the park, and went on to want to tie a rope between the Twin Towers that had just been through being built. He wanted to walk across the rope and perform up there for everyone. However, he knew the police would not allow it, so he gathered some helpers and went up there at night to tie a rope across the two buildings, they ...more
Kristen Carson
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Book Information:
This book is a picture book and the reading level is PK-5
Philippe Petit is a street performer who performed in front of the twin towers everyday. One day he got the idea to dress as a construction worker and snuck a four hundred and forty pound reel of wire into the elevator. Him and his friend during nightfall carried the wire one hundred and eighty floors to the roof where they fastened the cable from one tower to the next. When morning hit, Philippe walked out on the
Bhebden Hebden
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I discovered The Man Who Walked Between The Towers, illustrated and written by Mordicai Gerstein, as a recommendation from my local public library staff. Based on the true story of Philippe Petit, a young French aerialist, this story outlines events that culminated in Petit walking, performing, and resting on a tight rope that stretched between the Twin Towers in New York prior to their completion. Gerstein describes the arduous evening on August 7, 1974 when Petit and several friends dress as c ...more
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Non Fiction 1 2 Apr 26, 2016 09:20PM  
Review 1 7 Sep 17, 2014 07:40PM  

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Mordicai Gerstein was an American artist, writer, and film director, best known for illustrating and writing children's books. He illustrated the comic mystery fiction series Something Queer is Going On. He won the 2004 Caldecott Medal for U.S. picture book illustration. ...more

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