April 2, 2012
Balloons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Balloons over Broadway:
The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
If you’re like me, you’ve watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and wondered at the balloons. I always assumed that the inspiration for these works of wonder came from hot air balloons. After all, many of the ones you see today are shaped like something such as the Energizer Bunny.
But before he created the Macy’s balloons, Tony Sarg (rhymes with aargh) was a puppeteer. He was a marionette man at only six years-old. As an adult, he moved to London and then to New York. When Macy’s heard about Tony’s puppets, they asked him to design a puppet parade for their holiday window display. Tony’s mechanical marionettes were the talk of the town.
In 1924, Macy’s hosted their first Thanksgiving Day parade. It was such a success, that they decided to do it annually. Could tony help them make it spectacular?
I’m not going to tell you any more of the plot, because I want you to read the story of how and why this puppet master created the amazing balloons we have today.
Sweet uses a combination of collage and water color paintings to illustrate the book. Before she began painting, she took the time to make a variety of toys and puppets. She wanted to get a feel for Sarg’s world. And feel it, Sweet did. That fact is obvious from the detailed, fun-filled illustrations throughout the book.
Share this story with the creative genius in your life. Inspire a young reader and it can lead to something great.