Skip to main content
Cover for King of the Tightrope

King of the Tightrope

When the Great Blondin Ruled Niagara

Donna Janell Bowman, Adam Gustavson (Illustrator)


List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


In 1859, The Great Blondin took the most dangerous tightrope walk of his career--a death-defying walk across Niagara Falls. History and STEM combine for an edge-of-your-seat read.

"Awesome, astounding, death-defying."--Kirkus Reviews

At the age of four, Jean-Francois Gravelet walked across his first balance beam. Later, he took to the tightrope like a spider to its web, and with his family troupe, he climbed toward stardom. Though his feats became more and more marvelous, he grew bored. That is, until he visited Niagara Falls and imagined doing something that no one else had ever accomplished.

To cross the raging river, The Great Blondin needed an engineering process, determination, and a belief that what he could imagine, he could accomplish. And in 1859, with all of his preparation complete, Blondin stepped out onto the most dangerous tightrope walk he'd ever faced.

Award-winning nonfiction author Donna Janell Bowman uses her trademark in-depth research to give readers a close look at the hard work, determination, and meticulous mathematic and scientific planning it took to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Adam Gustavson's detailed illustrations turn this book into an experience that will inspire readers of all ages. A fascinating, STEAM-filled story that will have readers holding their breath

Also by Donna Jannell Bowman:
Abraham Lincoln's Dueling Words

Peachtree Publishing Company, 9781561459377, 48pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2019