Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great Blondin by Matt Tavares

Published by Candlewick Press

Crossing Niagara: The Death-Defying Tightrope Adventures of the Great  Blondin: Tavares, Matt, Tavares, Matt: 9780763668235: Books

Summary:  Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a. The Great Blondin was just five years old when he first performed on the tightrope.  Although he loved his circus career, he longed to do something even more daring.  When he first laid eyes on Niagara Falls, he knew what he wanted to do.  He set up a rope, contacted the newspapers, and on June 30, 1859, he made his first successful crossing, stopping along the way to perform a few tricks, including retrieving a bottle from the Maid of the Mist below and toasting the crowd.  He promised to return on July 4, and this time, he crossed the falls blindfolded.  Over the next two summers, he made many crossings, trying all kinds of stunts.  His ultimate challenge was carrying his manager across on his back (a trick his manager wasn’t terribly enthusiastic about).  When the crowds began to thin, The Great Blondin moved on, but he was forever remembered for his Niagara Falls crossings.  End matter includes a brief author’s note and a bibliography.  36 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  The storytelling and large, detailed illustrations combine to make a pulse-pounding tale of daring.

Cons:  I could have enjoyed a little more biographical detail about The Great Blondin.

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