Once there were two towers side by side. They were each a quarter of a mile high... The tallest buildings in New York City....
Philippe can juggle balls. He can ride a unicycle. But what he does best and loves most is to walk a tightrope. When he sees two enormous towers side by side, there’s nothing Philippe wants more than to walk the space between them. How can Philippe achieve his vision? Or will he just have to be content with dreaming?
With a fairytale beginning, Gerstein provides a lyrical account of Philippe Petit's famous tightrope walk between Manhattan's World Trade Center towers on August 7th, 1974. Disguised as construction workers, he and a friend haul a 440-pound reel of cable and other materials onto the roof of the south tower.
How Philippe and his pal hang the cable over the 140-foot distance is in itself a fascinating and harrowing story, charted in a series of vertical and horizontal ink and oil panels. An inventive foldout tracking Philippe's progress across the wire offers dizzying views of the city below; a turn of the page transforms readers' vantage point into a vertical view of the feat from street level.
When police race to the top of one tower's roof, threatening arrest, Philippe moves back and forth between the towers: "As long as he stayed on the wire he was free" Gerstein's dramatic paintings include some perspectives bound to take any reader's breath away.
Review by Hadley Payne (nee Ayers)
Hadley was an exemplary employee at Exodus for several years. Full of life and laughter, she is an avid reader who loves both classics and popular literature. Her reviews are clear, helpful and often witty. Check more of them out here.
You can see a news video of Phillipe Petit's famous walk, and another one in 2010:
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