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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein

“I get the draw of seeing three balls and wanting to juggle them. I don’t get the draw of seeing a wire and wanting to . . . die . . .”

In memory of the great Mr. Gerstein we decided to do his best-known, most classicy classic title. Of course, by doing this title, it means that for the first time, in all of our history, we are doing a nonfiction picture book. Not a bad way to start out, eh? Have no fear, we’ll be getting to the spooky Halloween fare soon enough, but first I wanted to pay an homage to one of children’s literature’s greats.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, PlayerFM, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

  • I Am Hermes is Gerstein’s last book, and it is a sheer delight. The man left while still at the top of his game.
  • Quiz Question: Which Disney animated film begins with a shot of the Twin Towers? Kate accidentally guessed Tangled, which amused me to no end.
  • Let the sacrifice of the babies begin!

One sacrificial baby.

TWO sacrificial babies.

THREE sacrificial babies! How many babies does this man need?

  • I haven’t seen the documentary Man on Wire so Kate has a legitimate question. The box weighs 440 pounds and these guys carried it up one hundred and eighty stairs. How?
  • How old was Philippe Petit when he did this? I looked it up. He was about to turn 25.
  • How cool is this? Kate measured the width of this cable. And just as it says in the book, Gerstein really and truly did make it 5/8ths of an inch thick. He drew it to scale!
  • So consider the cleverness of this cover. That bird is a seagull but you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a bald eagle. I cannot help but think that this was done on purpose on somebody’s part.
  • I really and truly wish he had yelled to the police, “Come and get me, coppers!”
  • Here is the trailer for the documentary Man on Wire. I love that it includes the moment he balances the policeman’s hat on his nose and then drops it onto his head.
  • And here is the trailer for the biographical drama called The Walk. Looks like the supplemented the actual drama with some unnecessary dramatic flourishes. I like the shots though.
  • The Weston Woods version of this book is read by Jake Gyllenhal and it’s lovely. Here’s a quick peek at it:
  • Thank you for the lovely copies of your latest book, Astronuts, Jon Scieszka!
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. Must confess, it was Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching who says that she’d been asked the wrong question. She wasn’t afraid of heights — she could look at mountains all day long; she should have been asked if she was afraid of depths.

    (Petit and his training also show up all the way through the NBCC Award winner Let the Great World Spin. Since it’s about NY in the 70s, it’s pretty gritty, but the bit with people on the street gradually looking up is terrific.)