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Mirette on the High Wire

(Mirette #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  10,868 ratings  ·  469 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 ...more
Paperback, 32 pages
Published April 14th 1997 by Puffin Books (first published January 1st 1992)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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 ·  10,868 ratings  ·  469 reviews

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The setting is a hotel in France a 100 years ago. Mirette helps her mother who runs a great hotel for traveling artists like circus performers and people in traveling shows. Bellini comes to rent a room and Mirette finds him walking on the clothesline. Mirette becomes obsessed and she starts to practice. After many falls, she is able to walk on the rope. Bellini is sad for her as she will never be happy on the ground now.

We find out that Bellini did all these amazing feats like walking across
A sweet and generally pleasant enough combination of text and images, although if truth be told whether I personally would actually consider Mirette on the High Wire as Caldecott Medal material, I am not entirely sure (as while I do very much appreciate both Emily Arnold McCully's narrative and her accompanying, descriptive, colourfully evocative watercolour illustrations, there is also nothing truly spectacular presented, just a simple and basic account of Mirette and of course also the Great ...more
Sep 30, 2010 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
Luisa Knight
I can't say enough about the lush and vividly colorful illustrations in this book! It's a mesmerizing view as you try to take in all of the detail. And the story feels original; not some over-used plot that so many books recycle nowadays.

I definitely recommend this one!

Ages: 4 - 9

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked the illustrations, but the story just didn't grab me...or the kids.
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
Sep 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While this was a Caldecott Medal winner, I didn't really love this book. I liked the watercolor paintings, but the story wasn't captivating. It wasn't boring, but it didn't exactly keep me wanting to turn the pages. The story focuses on Mirette, a young girl in a French boardinghouse, who aspires to be like the famous wire-walker Bellini. After watching Bellini day after day, Mirette sneaks onto Bellini's wire and tries wire-walking herself. After getting caught by Bellini, both are surprised as ...more
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: caldecott
1993 Caldecott Medal - Favorite Illustration: I love when Mirette goes out to get the sheets from the line and sees Bellini rope-walking for the first time! The sheets blowing in the wind are beautiful and the look of astonishment on Mirette's face is so cute.
Mirette works hard in a bed and breakfast with her mother, serving circus performers and entertainers. One day, a tired man comes to rest and starts a special friendship with Mirette as she learns how to tight rope walk. However, Bellini
Sep 11, 2013 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
A story of a young girl that learns to walk the tightrope form the master of tightrope walking, the great Bellini. He thinks she is too young to learn but her determination and courage persuade him to teach her. But poor Bellini is suffering from terrible fear.

Here is what I really liked about this book: Mirette showed courage, determination and fortitude as she learned to walk on the tightrope. Moreover, she showed compassion and concern when she helped Bellini overcome his fear. She had big
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg-4050
1. Mirette is a young Parisian girl whose mother owns a boardinghouse for travelling performers. One night, a tightrope walker named Bellini checks in. Over his stay, Mirette convinces him to teach her how to tightrope walk, and they discover a friendship along the way.
2. 4-8, PreK-3, Lexile 580
3. This would be a great book to use in guidance for a lesson on perseverance and courage.
4. Individual students could benefit from this if they are having a difficult time with motivation and wanting to
Sep 19, 2015 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
Katie Fitzgerald
This book tells the story of a young girl whose talent for walking the high wire is discovered when Bellini, a famous tight-rope walker, comes to stay at her widowed mother’s boarding house. Bellini has developed a fear that prevents him from performing, which Mirette, through her persistence and determination, helps him to overcome. The plot reminds me somewhat of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which also focuses on a child helping an adult overcome an emotional roadblock. I’m not sure the ...more
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a lovely tale of a tight rope or high wire walker who inspires a little girl to try it for herself.

The illustrations are colorful and yet muted, soft and as good as you'd expect for a Caldecott winning book.

The story is exciting, especially as you get to the anticipated ending. We really enjoyed reading this book together.

This book was featured in the October 2016 - Quarterly Caldecott discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
I wish I was more interested in this book, because it feels like I should be. A few illustrations in particular are just wonderful, charming and excellent storytellers.

A bit on the wordy side, but, not too wordy for first graders or somewhere around there.

I believe the Bellini in this book is meant to be Henry Bellini, but, I could not find anything about the boardinghouse, so perhaps that bit is fiction.

I really wish some sort of historical note would have been included, it feels that would
Kristine Hansen
Feb 03, 2013 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.
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pbf-general
I liked the colorful watercolor paintings, but am not sure why these particular illustrations were deemed more worthy than the many other picture books she has illustrated. But they were very successful at enhancing the story. I admired the young girl with the courage to walk a high wire; I certainly would never try anything so risky! And I admired the way she encouraged Bellini to get over his fear. An inspiring story.
Jun 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Paris, 100 years ago

Ten year-old Mirette must have a lot of determination as well as innate balancing skill to master the art of tight rope walking so easily. Falls are mentioned, but none of the images show bruises, scabs or even dirty clothes. I image that some kids will want to try walking a rope after reading this.
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Great Bellini, a celebrated wire-walker, stays in the boarding house that Mirette's mother owns. Enchanted by Bellini's skills, she begs for lessons and learns to walk the wire as well. Though Bellini was a real person and his actual feats are described, the story about Mirette is fiction.

Recommended for primary elementary students.
Mar 29, 2015 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.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A unique fictional story 100 years ago in Paris. A little girls determination and ability to learn and how she helped her teacher overcome his fear.
Stacy M. Patton
——-Caldecott Winner: 1993——

This is a story -100 years ago - about a famous master wire walker who comes to stay in a Paris boarding house. When the daughter of the owner of this boarding house sees the Great Bellini practicing, she becomes entranced in the art of wire walking and begs to become his apprentice. This is a charming story of times long ago.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it as a kid, loved reading to the kid now. Was quite impressed that at 18 months the kid found it super engaging, and followed through to the end despite a wealth of unfamiliar words. Beautiful art.
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exam-1
Emily Arnold McCully's book, Mirette on the High Wire, is a story that I think does a wonderful job talking about persistence and conquering fears. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 1993 for its breathtaking watercolor illustrations. The book follows Mirette as she meets the famous tightrope walker Bellini while he stays at her mother's boardinghouse. Bellini inspires Mirette to learn to walk on the tightrope and in turn, Mirette helps him to conquer his fear of tightrope walking. This book is ...more
Sarah Burton
Oct 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: exam-1
This book won the Caldecott Medal in 1993. Overall, I liked the illustrations in this book more than the story. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed pictures, but the story was lacking. In some places I found it too wordy while in some places I wanted more details. A lot of things in the book just happened with no lead up or explanation. However, the book would be suitable for a first through third grade aged reader and the elements of fiction and nonfiction are very interesting. The ...more
Courtney Seiter
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: exam-2
Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully is a recipient of the Caldecott Award. This is a heartwarming story about how Mirette learns to tightrope walk from Bellini, who is a guest at her mother’s boardinghouse. She does not know that he is a professional tightrope artist who no longer performs because of the fear he developed. Mirette helps Bellini overcome his fear as well as her own. I would definitely recommend this book for all elementary aged school children. I would teach the ...more
Elizabeth Nelson
Emily Arnold McCully writes a tantalizing story of a girl who develops a fiery passion and a man who learns to risk everything in order to once again fear nothing. Monsieur Bellini, a skilled tight rope walker and Mitrette, a well behaved young girl who helps around her mother’s boardinghouse, meet in the courtyard one day of the boardinghouse. Mitrette is amazed by the sight of Monsieur Bellini as he walks across a tight rope and is instantly captivated into trying for herself. Despite some ...more
The little girl in this story is hardworking and inquisitive. She likes to eavesdrop on the people that come to stay in her mother’s inn and hear their stories. Then a man comes to stay with them, Mr. Bellini, he keeps to himself and doesn’t interact with the other guests. The otherr guest end up taking about him one night so she learns a little bit about him. Which make Mirette even more curious about him and when she catches him walking on a rope without falling she wants to try it herself. ...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
Shayla Ware
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mirette on The High Wire is a Historical Fiction Novel. It received The Caldecott Medal and was written for children ages 6-8. This book is a spinoff of Philippe Petit who is the man that walked between the twin towers. Mirette on the High Wire is a about a little girl who meets a master wire walker and grows a passion for the art form. I rated this book a 4 out of 5 because it has a very good storyline. Although the story is about a child who learns a new craft it is also teaching a life ...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.

Other books in the series

Mirette (3 books)
  • Starring Mirette & Bellini
  • Mirette and Bellini Cross Niagara Falls