Balloons Over Broadway

by Melissa Sweet (Author)

Balloons Over Broadway
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Everyone's a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these "upside-down puppets?" Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! In brilliant collage illustrations, Caldecott Honor artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America--the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy's Parade.


Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

This clever marriage of information and illustration soars high.

Copyright 2011 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Tony Sarg (1880-1942, "rhymes with aargh!"), the man who invented the giant balloons of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, has found a worthy biographer in Caldecott Honoree Sweet (A River of Words). With lighthearted watercolors, fanciful scrapbooking, and collaged typography, Sweet shows how Sarg, a self-taught immigrant, combined an indomitable curiosity with an engineer's know-how and a forever-young imagination. The story walks readers through each stage of Sarg's development as a master of puppetry--his childhood fascination with mechanics and marionettes, his first big break as a developer of window displays for Macy's, and his early earthbound parade creations (essentially air-filled rubber bags that were steered down the street). And then comes the light-bulb moment: "With a marionette, the controls are above and the puppet hangs down..." writes Sweet. "But what if the controls were below and the puppet could rise up?" The rush that comes from inspiration, the cliffhanger moments of creation, the sheer joy of building something and watching it delight the multitudes--Sweet captures it all in what is truly a story for all ages. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)

Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

K-Gr 3--Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer responsible for the creation of those now-famous gigantic balloons that are emblematic of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Even as a child, Tony Sarg was fascinated with movement, rigging ingenious contraptions that allowed him to feed the chickens early in the morning while remaining snug in his bed. He moved on to create fabulous marionettes that came to the attention of Macy's, and he was invited to design their holiday window displays. In 1924, when the store decided to put on a parade to please their immigrant employees who missed their holiday traditions of music and dancing in the streets, Sarg designed costumes and floats. As the parade became increasingly popular and the streets more and more crowded, he realized he needed to design something that would be large enough and high enough to be seen by all, and the idea of the balloons was born. Sweet tells this slice of American history well, conveying both Sarg's enthusiasm and joy in his work as well as the drama and excitement of the parade. Rich in detail, the gouache, collage, and mixed-media illustrations are a stand-out, capturing the charm of the period and the awe-inspiring balloons. This one should float off the shelves.--Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ

Copyright 2011 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

New Classic

Love the illustrations!

Melissa Sweet

Like Tony Sarg, Melissa Sweet loved to figure out how to make things move as a child. (She even remembers taking apart her own marionettes to see how they worked!) Today, she still plays with simple materials to construct her brilliant mixed-media collage illustrations, for which she has won a Caldecott Honor and two New York Times Best Illustrated citations. About this book, she writes:  As I began to research Tony Sarg, I was especially curious how he went from illustration and puppetry to designing the huge parade balloons. After I spent five years reading everything I could find on him, the Macy's parade, and puppetry--then traveling all over the map to talk to puppeteers--it seemed incredible that so few people knew of his work. I found him so inspiring, I wanted the whole world to know his story. For more information about the author and her work, visit www.melissasweet.net.

Classification
Nonfiction
ISBN-13
9780547199450
Lexile Measure
1000L
Guided Reading Level
N
Publication date
November 20, 2011
Series
-
Age Range
4 - 7 years
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
Winner 2012
Children's Book Committee Award
Winner 2012
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2012
Orbis Pictus Award
Winner 2012
Black-Eyed Susan Award
Nominee 2013
Golden Kite
Winner 2012
Cook Prize
Winner 2012
Monarch Award
Nominee 2014
Delaware Diamonds Award
Nominee 2013
Rhode Island Children's Book Awards
Nominee 2013
North Carolina Children's Book Award
Nominee 2013
Red Clover Award
Nominee 2013
Lupine Award
Winner 2011
Cybils
Finalist 2012
Land of Enchantment Book Award
Nominee 2014
Bluebonnet Awards
Nominee 2014
William Allen White Childens Book Award
Nominee 2014
Louisiana Young Readers' Choice Award
Nominee 2014
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2014
Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award
Nominee 2014
Jefferson Cup
Winner 2012
Star of the North Picture Book Award
Nominee 2014
Volunteer State Book Awards
Nominee 2015
Beehive Awards
Winner 2014
Charlotte Zolotow Award
Highly Commended 2012
Virginia Readers Choice Award
Nominee 2015
Georgia Children's Book Award
Nominee 2015
Nutmeg Book Award
Nominee 2015

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