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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Cover Reveal – King of the Tightrope

I know what you’re saying to yourself right now. You’re saying, “Me [<— insert name here], since today is February 28th, how best should I celebrate the birthday of Jean-François Gravelet a.k.a The Great Blondin? What can I, a mere mortal, do to commemorate the life of the man that crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope?” Well, friends, I have an answer for you. It may not be big or bold, but with today’s cover reveal you can put your mind to rest, confident that you will have done something to remember the man in question.

But before we go any further, let’s get some background information! First off, there’s a book about Gravelet? Yes indeed. As of October 2019, you’ll be seeing Donna Bowman and Adam Gustavson’s King of the Tightrope: When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara. Tightrope stories adapt rather seamlessly into the picture book format. No less than two of them have won Caldecotts (Mirette on the High Wire and The Man Who Walked Between the Towers). For that matter, Niagara Falls itself makes for some good picture book biographies. Did you ever read Chris Van Allsburg’s Queen of the Falls? It’s a doozy.

In The Great Blondin you get a look at the man’s life, from his childhood and interest in acrobatics to his impressive feat of crossing the Niagara Falls on a tightrope. It includes STEM-related details about how to get a massive rope across the Falls and use it as a tightrope. Oh! And blurbs. It’s quite blurby, this book:

“Growing up as a highwire walker, I frequently heard stories about Blondin’s feats of audacity.  I am pleased that through this book Blondin’s legacy will live on, not only in the circus community, but within the general public, young and old alike.” —Alessandro  Wallenda, The Flying Wallendas

“Blondin has constantly endeavored to overcome his own mental and physical limits. He is exemplary in this respect and deserves great admiration. That is why Donna and I have dedicated so many years of our lives in writing his story. Bravo l’artiste!” —Jean-Louis Brenac, great-great-grandson of The Great Blondin

Good enough for me! Here’s the cover then:


Thanks to Elyse Vincenty and Peachtree Publishing for the reveal.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting the cover reveal for King of the Tightrope, Betsy! I’m a fan of your work and your columns. This is awkward, but may I humbly request that you correct the subject’s name in this post/reveal? One of the perpetuated falsehoods about The Great Blondin was his actual name, which was Jean-François Gravelet, not Charles Blondin.
    Thanks so much!

  2. Feels like I’m up there with him! This cover will pop on the shelves. Congratulations to author and artist!


  1. […] acclaimed illustrator Adam Gustavson is gorgeous, as you can see from the above cover, revealed on Betsy Bird’s Fuse #8 Productions column for School Library Journal last week. The extraordinary research journey for this book involved surprising turns, a […]