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Scholastic Book Guides: Mirette on the Highwire Paperback – Aug 1 2003
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Mirette and the "Great Bellini" traverse the Paris skyline on high wire in the climactic scene of this picture book about conquering fear. The two meet at Mirette's mother's boarding house, where Bellini is staying with a troupe of traveling performers. Mirette persuades Bellini to teach her his art, and soon enough the two are performing above the rooftops of Paris. While Mirette gets to step outside her daily routine of peeling potatoes and scrubbing floors, Bellini manages to reaffirm his mastery. The story affords a spunky, down-to-earth role model for readers who like to dream big dreams. It also offers rich, scenic portraits of 19th century Paris. The book won the 1993 Caldecott Medal. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
In this picture book set in 19th-century Paris, a child helps a daredevil who has lost his edge to regain his confidence. Many traveling performers stay at Madame Gateaux's boarding house, but Mme.'s daughter Mirette is particularly taken with one guest--the quiet gentleman who can walk along the clothesline without falling off. Mirette implores the boarder to teach her his craft, not knowing that her instructor is the "Great Bellini" of high wire fame. After much practice the girl joins Bellini on the wire as he conquers his fear and demonstrates to all of Paris that he is still the best. McCully's story has an exciting premise and starting point, but unfortunately ends up as a missed opportunity. Bellini's anxiety may be a bit sophisticated for the intended audience and, surprisingly, the scenes featuring Mirette and Bellini on the high wire lack drama and intensity. McCully's rich palette and skillful renderings of shadow and light sources make this an inviting postcard from the Old World. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Ms. McCully had originally set out to write a biography of the famous tightrope walker Blondin, when she decided to write this book instead. The Mirette character is based on her own recollections of being a brave girl.
This book contains unusually high quality illustrations, even for a Caldecott Medal Winner (as the best illustrated children's book of 1993). The style shares a great deal with Toulouse-Lautrec but is more appealing because there is more subtlety and use of soft pastel shades. You will definitely feel like you've stepped through the looking glass into a world of entertainment in 1890's Paris.
The story opens to find Mirette helping her mother keep a boardinghouse for entertainers (traveling players for the theaters and music halls) called Gateau's. "Acrobats, jugglers, actors, and mimes from as far away as Moscow and New York" stayed and ate there. What a wonderful place for a child!
Mirette, unfortunately, had the not so exciting tasks of "washing linens, chopping leeks, paring potatoes, and mopping floors." She was "a good listener, too."
One day, Bellini (a retired high-wire walker) came to stay. "I am here for a rest." Soon, he had set up his wire in the back and was practicing. He refused to teach Mirette when she asked to learn. "Once you start, your feet are never happy again on the ground." She replied, "My feet are already unhappy on the ground." While he was away sometimes she would practice.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I gave Mirette On The High Wire only 2 stars because it was very predictable. The only fair part of the book was the pictures. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
The book Mirette on the high wire is a good children's book because the pictures and words are very descriptive. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
This is a beautiful story with very beautiful and extravagant pictures. I'd recommend this book to most new readers, even young ones. The plot is great. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
This is a good book because it tells you to believe in yourself and don't give up. The main characters are Mirette and Mr. Bellini. You just want to know what Mirette is up to. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
I read Mirette on the High Wire. It is a very good book. It is about a retired high wire walker that retired and teaches a younger person to walk on the wire. Read morePublished on Feb. 13 2004
I love this book! A smashing story of a girl's discoveries of her own talents & strength, complete with lovely illustrations & set in one of the most fascinating countries in the... Read morePublished on June 23 2003 by Elise A. Kutsunai
I would have to say this is not one of the very best books I have ever read, but it was a good story. Read morePublished on March 13 2003
My precocious (precious!) 4-year-old daughter just loved this book - so much so that we have enjoyed playing "Mirette & Bellini" together many times, acting out the story and... Read morePublished on July 18 2002 by M. Lilliquist
With gorgeous pastel drawings, this book tells a story of a famous tightrope walker in 19th century Paris. Read morePublished on May 21 2002 by Jay