Mirette on the High Wire

Winner of the Caldecott Medal.

“Inspired by the exploits of the daredevil Blondin, an exotic, suspenseful story about the affection and loyalty between teacher and protégé: Mirette learns tightrope-walking from Monsieur Bellini, a famous wirewalker who has lost his nerve and is staying in her mother’s Parisian boardinghouse because he can no longer perform. 

For Mirette’s sake, Bellini plans a comeback—a walk across a square from one high rooftop to another—but he freezes on the wire until Mirette dashes up to the opposite roof and walks out to meet him. Intense colors, strong contrasts of light and shadow, and artistes and dandies straight out of Toulouse-Lautrec convey the atmosphere of Paris in la belle époque—a real departure in style and subject matter from McCully’s mouse-family adventures. “