The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
Review posted January 14, 2013.
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Boston, 2011. 36 pages.
2012 Sonderbooks Standout: #4 Children's Nonfiction
Balloons Over Broadway is the true story of an artist written by an artist, and it shows. To create the art for the book, Melissa Sweet began by making toys and puppets -- just like Tony Sarg did.
The story tells about how Tony Sarg liked to figure out how things worked even as a child, and how he conceived of the Macy's Parade balloons as a kind of marionette with controls underneath instead of above.
Throughout the book, there is variety and fascinating detail in the illustrations. And she captures some of Tony Sarg's thought processes in making the parade balloons.
Ultimately, this is a true story of creativity and overcoming challenges. And like all great picture books, you really must see it yourself to appreciate it fully. This one's worth reading for adults, but is simple enough and interesting enough for young elementary age readers. I hope kids find it in the Biography section, because what we have is a great story.