When Melissa Sweet was a little girl, her Grandmother would take her into New York City to experience the Macy’s Day Parade. Like so many others, Sweet wondered how these amazing, eye-popping puppets and balloons came to be. Years later, after becoming a Caldecott honor winner, Sweet writes a brilliant children’s story, “Balloons Over Broadway”, and teaches us all a little something about tradition. With its whimsical colors, and creative artwork, Balloons Over Broadway illuminates to us that everyone can make their dreams come true. Sweet colorfully illustrates how German immigrant Tony Sarg came to America as a master marionette, worked his way into New York, and put his puppets in Broadway. From there, Sarg’s imagination commissioned him to make animated designs for Macy’s Department Store windows. Every year, the animations got so much bigger and better that eventually Macy’s created a Thanks Giving Day Parade just so everyone could see these amazing masterpieces. Using enchanting watercolors, Sweet describes the trials and tribulations Sarg came across while inventing his spectacular flying contraptions. Thanks to Tony Sarg, we now have a larger than life parade that everyone can cherish.
I found this book incredibly imaginative and full of wonderful facts. The watercolors are a visual delight, and the story behind the Macy’s Day Parade is truly inspiring. Sweet concocts richly arranged depictions made of buttons, popsicle sticks, wire, fabric, string, wood, and cardboard, making one of the most eye capturing children’s book’s I’ve ever read. Who would have ever known that the mastermind behind the Macy’s Parade behemoths was a German immigrant who had a love for marionettes? She even includes writings about Sarg’s hero’s, letters from his apprentices, quotes from his daughter and a real, one of a kind 1933 New York Times Macy’s parade ad. Sweet succeeded in portraying a positive message to her young audience and embraces the idea of following your dreams and not letting anything stop you. A great gift for any child, Balloons Over Broadway will spark their imagination and ignite their dreams.
Balloons Over Broadway
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company