Man who Walked Between the Towers
By Kayla Hartmann
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers is about a street performer name Philippe. He loved to preform for the public. He juggled and walked on ropes. One day, Phillipe saw two towers rise up in the sky of New York City. These towers were known as the infamous Twin Towers. He got the idea to walk on a rope between the two towers. One night, him and his friends walked to the top of the towers and set the rope up for Philippe to walk on.
This story takes place in New York city in the 1970's. The illustrations go into a lot of detail to bring life into the pictures. While reading the book, the illustrations look like a picture was taken of New York City. The detail in the story contributes a lot to the plot, setting, and theme.
The book is quite large and it is made that way to add as much detail to each picture as possible. Through out the story, the book as multiple pictures on each page, all showing much detail. In the middle of the story during the climax, the page becomes wordless until it is flipped open into a bigger picture. This bigger picture then shows a different perspective of the same view. During the falling action, the pages go back to having multiple illustrations on one page.
The illustrator used lines to his advantage while creating these pictures. All pictures look like a sketch from a number two pencil. The lines in the book are used to create specific detail in all of the pages.
The artistic style used in this book is realistic. The reason the illustrator chose to use realistic is because this book is based off of a true story. In the 1970's, there was a man who walked on a tight rope in between the twin towers. The realistic style helps retell the story.
Mordicai Gerstein expresses in an interview that "writing to children is his medium" (Public Broadcasting Service). The way that he illustrates his books is in the sense for the children who will read them. The outline of his illustrations are obviously pen and ink in this book, with added color. He never specifically said how he interplayed the color to the illustrations. The use of this media played a role in this book because it made it connect to the children. It was detailed drawings that younger children would understand when they looked at the pages.
Elements of Illustration
Framing is used a lot in this book. Almost every picture is inside a frame whether there is one picture on the page or multiple pictures on the page. This is used to give the reader a different perspective of the same part of the story. The Caldecott award chair said "Two ingenious gatefolds and horizontal and vertical framing put the reader high in the air with this daredevil performer and emphasizes the vast space between the towers and their astounding height" (Association for Library Services to Children). Arrangement is also important to the plot of the story. During the rising and falling action of the story, multiple pictures are used and place specifically on the page and then during the climax, the who page is used for one picture. The page turns are very important for this book because it is a younger children's book. There is so much going on in each page that the child won't get distracted from the book.
Interplay of Text and Illustration
The illustration and text interplay a lot during this story. The images are so specific that one could read the book without the words and still understand what is happening. The illustrations are a direct correlation to the story and tell it through images.
Association for Library Services for Children. (2016). 2004 Caldecott Medal and Honors Book. Association for Library Services for Children. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecotthonors/2004caldecottmedalhonors
Public Broadcasting Service. (16, Feb. 2004). Mordicai Gerstein. Public Broadcasting Service. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment-jan-june04-towers_02-16/
This is an excellent children's book and brings the story of the man who walked between the towers to life. The illustrations are unique and specific and show a whole different perspective of the story. The words used are simple enough for a beginning reader to understand, but also advanced enough to keep the interest of a more skilled child.The illustrations were great along with the story.