Monday, April 18, 2011

Marvelous Picture Books: "Mirette on the Highwire"

“Mirette and
the "Great Bellini" traverse the Paris skyline on high wire in the climactic scene of this picture book about conquering fear. The two meet at Mirette's mother's boarding house, where Bellini is staying with a troupe of traveling performers. Mirette persuades Bellini to teach her his art, and soon enough the two are performing above the rooftops of Paris. While Mirette gets to step outside her daily routine of peeling potatoes and scrubbing floors, Bellini manages to reaffirm his mastery.”

This Caldecott award-winner is a truly inspiring tale for young women. Mirette is an inspiring character. The fact that the main character is a girl and not a boy sends a positive message to female readers. McCully describes in her Caldecott acceptance speech how Mirette “strives for equality on the wire,” which sends the message that girls need to see themselves as actors, not as people to be acted upon. Each page features a lot of text, so it is appropriate for older readers (7 – 11 years old). This age group will also appreciate Mirette’s courage and dedication to a dream. The fantastical ending of Mirette and the Great Bellini starring in a world tour together also encourages readers to work towards their wildest dreams, because you never know what may happen. The illustrations in this story are beautifully crafted and are reminiscent of the time period in which the story takes place. The pictures look antique and thus instill in the reader’s mind that this story took place 100 years ago. Despite the female lead, this book has wide appeal because it challenges readers to pursue their wildest dreams and to remain dedicated to all their endeavors. Mirette’s success in walking on the high wire is inspiring to all readers because what she is able to achieve on her own is so amazing. Aside from achieving her own goals. she is able to inspire a world renowned tight rope walker who has quit his craft that he should not give up on his talent. This empowers readers to feel that they can have infuence over adults!

We really enjoyed this book, and feel that it is a great book, especially for little girls!

Happy Reading!

Jenny & Kelley

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