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|King of the tightrope : when the Great Blondin ruled Niagara|
Author: Bowman, Donna Janell
In 1859, Jean-Francois Gravelet, known as The Great Blondin, walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. What kind of man would do something like that? And more importantly, how do you become that man?
Kirkus Reviews (07/15/19)
School Library Journal (11/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 06/01/2019 Philippe Petit isn’t the only daring French funambulist. Indeed, Jean-François Gravelet—or the Great Blondin, as he would later be known—defied gravity and expectations during the 1800s, most famously for walking over Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Bowman leads up to this monumental feat by first describing Blondin’s childhood in the circus and the stunts he incorporated into his act to make it more challenging. The lifelike gouache-and-watercolor illustrations are rich with the drama and tension of Blondin’s performances, depicting him balancing on a chair, playing instruments, and even cooking an omelet while on his tightrope. Bowman conjures the sheer magnitude of his Niagara endeavor as she describes the calculations, equipment, and manpower needed to simply get Blondin’s rope from one shore to the other. And like the spectators there on June 30, 1859, readers will hold their breath as the Frenchman makes his legendary walk. She rounds out this daredevil’s biography with a time line and trivia. Source notes and extended content can be found on the author’s website. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2019 Gr 3–6—Jean-François Gravelet, also known as the Great Blondin, was a famous 19th-century French tightrope walker who toured the world performing dangerous feats. Relying on the financial assistance of his supporters and his own ingenuity, the Great Blondin achieved his dream of crossing a tightrope across Niagara Falls. Using sentences of varying lengths and occasional repetition and sprinkling in French words, Bowman makes this longer text accessible to a wide range of readers. Gustavson's gouache and watercolor images transport readers into Blondin's world. The final three pages include photographs and several facts about Blondin's life and his most famous feats. VERDICT This well-researched, riveting biography will inspire readers.—Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.