King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara – Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Adam Gustavson

   King of the Tightrope: When The Great Blondin Ruled Niagara – Donna Janell Bowman, illustrated by Adam Gustavson, Peachtree Publishing Company, 9781561459377, 2019

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Biography/Picture

 What did you like about the book? I enjoyed so many aspects of this book but I especially liked learning a new word–”funambulist”, a tightrope walker! This is the story of the famous tightrope walker Jean-Francois Gravelet, known as The Great Blondin. His most famous feat was to cross Niagara Falls but this story is more than just that particular stunt. Gravelet grew up in a performing family and achieved great success at a very early age. So much so that he became very bored with just performing simple acts on the tightrope so he started using his imagination to come up with some crazy ideas. That is really the take away from this story–you can achieve anything with some imagination and determination. The book also points out how much Gravelet researched his projects and used science and physics to make his ideas come to life. There are so many interesting things I learned in this story–children will be enthralled. The accompanying illustrations really enhance the story.

 Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for ages 6-10. It is a biography but reads like a picture book so fans of some of the picture books out there featuring Harriett Tubman, Malala Yousafzia, Abe Lincoln and others will enjoy this book.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Picture Book or Biography, depends where your library shelves these types of biographies (with biographies or with picture books).

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes, I think many children will enjoy seeing how Gravelet works hard to accomplish his goals.

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: December 9, 2019


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