Nov 16, 2011
Balloons Over Broadway
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet
Next week, like every Thanksgiving morning for over eighty years, the famous Macy's parade will take place in the streets of New York City. Enormous balloons will fly between skyscraper canyons, mesmerizing children and adults alike. How did this tradition get started?
In Balloons Over Broadway Caldecott Honor Winner, Melissa Sweet, tells the true story of Tony Sarg, the inventor of the upside down balloon marionettes that have become such and intrinsic part of our Thanksgiving tradition. Born in England, Tony moved to New York to display his marionettes on Broadway. When word of his skill and inventiveness spread, Macy's approached him and asked him to design puppets for their windows. Eventually, Macy's asked Tony to help organize a parade that would cheer up its employees, who, being mostly immigrants, missed their own holiday traditions. It took Tony a couple of years of parades under his belt, until he finally came up with the idea of creating balloons that could be handled from the ground, just like an upside down marionette. "And from that day on, every Thanksgiving morning, crowds have lined up the sidewalks of New York City to see what new balloons would rise to the skies for Macy's famous parade."
Balloons Over Broadway is one of the most entertaining non-fiction books I've had the pleasure of reading this year. The bright and beautiful drawings of the balloons by Sweet, give this non-fiction book a sense of wonder and imagination more commonly associated with fiction picture books. The reader is engaged from the very beginning of the biography. Great non-fiction read aloud to do in the classroom. Delightful book that should become part of the Thanksgiving family library.