Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

by Melissa Sweet

NOOK Book(NOOK Kids)

View All Available Formats & Editions

Available on Compatible NOOK Devices and the free NOOK Apps.
WANT A NOOK?  Explore Now


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. Winner of the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal and the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547767161
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 11/01/2011
Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 127,956
Lexile: AD1000L (what's this?)
File size: 127 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 4 - 7 Years

About the Author

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

Melissa Sweet is the Caldecott Honor-winning illustrator of many fine children’s books including Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White, winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus award, Balloons Over Broadway, a Sibert winner, and The Right Word and A River of Words, both Caldecott Honors. Reviewers have described her unique mixed-media illustrations as “exuberant,” “outstanding,” and “a creative delight.” Melissa lives on the beautiful coast of Maine. In addition to writing and painting, she enjoys gardening, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. For more information about the author and her work, visit her online at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Felicity0 More than 1 year ago
This nonfiction book tells the story of how the Macy's Day Parade came about. The main character Tony Sarg is fascinated by the way things move. He was always building and experimenting with pulleys and rope. He grew up and wanted to do nothing but make marionettes for young children. Tony Sarg eventually ends up all grown up in New York City and has a job working at Macy's. Before you know it, you are receiving a complete history lesson about one of the major holiday events in New York. The author does a great job at making this history lesson fun and entertaining. The art that is contained in this book is so colorful, and is reminiscent of a scrap book project. I'm so glad I found this book, and you will be too!
LaineyBelle More than 1 year ago
Balloons over Broadway is the true story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg. Sarg created the "upside down puppets" that everyone gets to see during the Thanksgiving day parade. Through collage like illustrations students get to learn about a historical figure. Instead of a boring biography this book offers a chance for the reader to read about somebody who created something amazing and made an impact on our country through beautiful and colorful pictures. This novel and it's beautiful illustrations grab you from beginning to end and show a wonderful story.
MeghanM1 More than 1 year ago
I like how this book is a true story, and it can teach children about how the macys day parade came to be. The author did an incredible job depicting the characters and making it a fun way to learn about something that happens in the present day. The character likes the way things moves and when he grows up has a job working at macys. When I read this book I didn't even feel like I was learning a lesson the entire time I felt like I was just enjoying the book for how it was. The illustrations are beyond amazing with the colors and art.
pinkystar06 More than 1 year ago
Such a great book! I loved the story of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. It's a great history lesson that appeals to children and would be a great activity during the holidays for your classroom!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY Twenty-year-old protagonist Tony Sarg moves to New York City on an adventure he will never forget in this book Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet. This picture book is an easy read for 2nd-4th graders, with a third person narrator who tells the story with understandable vocabulary for young ages. It’s early 1900s, and Tony Sarg and his beautiful marionettes go to New York City to work on Broadway. When R.H. Macy hears word that Tony’s in New York. Macy asks Tony to design a “puppet parade” that moves for display windows. The crowd was awestruck and mesmerized by this “Wondertown” of marionettes and mechanical puppets. It was a success, and everybody loved it. Then Macy’s asked Tony to design an immigrant parade on Thanksgiving Day. Most of the Macy employees were from different countries; so every year the store held a parade with different floats for the different cultures. The parade ran into some conflicts that Tony uses his problem solving skills to find new, improved solutions. Read the book to find out. One of the themes of this book is Tony’s ability to problem solve. Evidence of this is when he was a little boy. Tony had to feed the chickens early every morning but he didn’t want to get out of bed. So he made a contraption that would feed the chicken’s without him having to get out of bed. Every night Tony spread out chicken feed in front of the chicken coop. Then with pulleys and a piece of rope he attached the rope to the door of the chicken coop and then attached the pulleys and rope leading up to his window. So in the morning, when he was in his bed, he would pull the rope to let the chickens out to eat the feed he spread out the previous night. His invention worked, and he was very happy. The illustrations in this book connect to the text very well and foreshadow a little bit. On pages 9,14,15, and 20 he is drawing his ideas, and readers can see the floats that are going to be in the parade. The illustrations also show where the action takes place. An example of this on some of the pages where the parade is going on, there is a map in the background, and it shows the path the parade is taking. Also when Melissa Sweet draws Tony’s office you can tell that he is a very crafty guy. You can tell this because the room is very colorful with all the colors of the rainbow, and there are gears, scraps of fabric, glue, and tools everywhere, on table tops, on shelves, and pouring out of cupboards. This book is a great nonfiction and beautifully written with wonderful illustrations. Melissa Sweet is very creative and makes this nonfiction book a fun easy read that is not boring like a normal nonfiction books with historical and science terms and such. On pages 26 and 27 when the big cat float is passing windows in a very tall apartment building she writes, “They shimmied and swayed through the canyons of New York City.” This is beautiful writing because it shows what the floats are doing. She is also a very good illustrator with her beautifully sketched images to make them look like their real life. I like this book because the book is based on a real story with a picture book twist to make it fun. This book is great, and I recommend it to children at ages 7-9.
TGANN More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. So much fun for the "thanksgiving" time of year. The illustrations are beautiful as well. Its a keeper.
ander23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story presents accurate and factual material because it tells the story about Tony Sarg, who is the actual person who became famous from his puppets and ballons he made for the Macy's parade. Readers can see work that he did to become a puppeteer from when he was a young boy. 4.5 stars.
DayehSensei on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A playfully informative book about the life of Tony Sarg, who designed and invented the use of helium puppets at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This would be a great book to use as an introduction to nonfiction, around Thanksgiving time, or to have students "guess" the genre ("Is it biography? Is it fiction?" etc.). Lots of science elements and real-life relevance.
ydraughon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Melissa Sweet tells a short story of the life of Tony Sarg, who created the famous helium puppets for the Macy's Day parade. A good read aloud that would engage K - 5th grade. Relevance to real lives is watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.
jenunes on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balloons over Broadway was recommended to me the day it joined the ranks of an award-winning titles. Read in a college-level nonfiction across the curriculum class, it was engaging and kept everyone's attention as we worked our way through it. Taking about ten minutes or so to read as a group, the story was fast-paced, and in my opinion, would be ideal for any level of elementary classrooms as well as certain levels within a middle school. The illustrations were wonderful and with every page, my interest was captured and held as I examined each picture. The story as well was biographical in nature, and yet told at a lower-level, not bogged down by higher-level vocabulary. This would be a prime example to me of differentiated instruction for students who are on the lower grade levels.
jmsummer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting take on the creation on the Macy's Thanksgivings day parade. This book is full of interesting notes and artwork that is intergrated into each page. Each of these pages gives the story more life than the traditional childrens books full of just pictures and text.
KeithMaddox on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Its presentation is an engaging mix of terse, focused narrative and interesting visual supplemental material. It describes the development of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade and Tony Sarg, whose love of puppetry and problem solving led him to create the famous balloons. I think the tone is a bit juvenile for the target audience, but allows the book to reach and interest a broad range of students (by age, ability, or interest) and to create bridges between the history, engineering, and story-telling that the book covers. I could see using this book for a class of younger advanced readers or a class of older struggling readers to engage them, or possibly reading it to a 5th or 6th grade class if the current topics (bouyancy or application for a science class, New York or the turn of the century for a history or social studies class) were applicable.
Chrisdier on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balloons over Broadway provided an entertaining way in detailing the history of the Macy's day parade puppets, or balloons, that fascinate millions. It reads like a story, as opposed to a dull history book, and captures many elements of fictional works that appeal to young audiences. It appeals to a wide audience as well considering it is a topic that most people find interesting, yet probably are unaware of the details concerning the balloons.
rwilliamson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The art was wonderful, including objects made by the author as well as different types of drawings and paintings. The story was engaging. It would appeal to students who were familiar with the Macy's parade. I am sure very few of my students ever questioned the history of the parade or the balloons. I know I hadn't thought of it before reading this book. This book could be used to show students that final projects often take many forms before the final version. I will order it for my library.
laurenryates on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book was an interesting look at how puppeteer, John Sarg, changed the Macy's Day Parade into what we know it as today with the use of giant balloons held up by helium and tethered to be used as upside down puppets. It showed his imagination as a creator and how he was inventive and clever. The pictures in the book were a creative combination of illustrations and photographs.
smoore75 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balloons Over Broadway tells the story of puppeteer Tony Starg in storybook fashion. The story begins by introducing the reader to Tony and his love for puppets. The scene is then set in New York City where Tony is asked to put on a parade for immigrant workers that work at Macy's. From there, the story is history. It seems when ever an obstacle materialized, Tony overcame it making for not only an informational storybook, but also a story of inspiration. Through Tony's ingenuity and creativity, he became instrumental in the creation of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that we all know and love today. The book is full of engaging illustrations that draw the reader in.
NathanielWood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Using a very light informal narrative, the author introduces us to the genesis story of the Macy's Day Parade, and the man who is most responsible for its modern incarnation. We begin with a boy who likes to tinker. that boy grows up to become a puppeteer first in London then in New York.The latter half of the book deals with his work for the Department Store Macy's, and how that work would eventually grow into This book is a very good way of putting an American Institution in a historical and even geographic context. I could see this as a elementary school level book. I am not quite experienced enough to peg this at any one grade level.
ertreada on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brief history of the Macy's parade describing how ones man love of puppeteering influenced the most famous aspect a holiday tradition that is truly American. Vauable to early readers interested in art, puppetery and hsitory
chelsea6273 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting book from page one, Melissa Sweet's "Balloons over Broadway" teaches its audience--most likely elementary children--about the roots and creation of the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, New York. The author takes us on a trail of Mr. Serg's life as a child who was unhappy about doing household chores, and opted to invent a way to make a pulley system that would perform the chore while he stayed in bed.Eventually the puppeteer makes puppets for Macy's window display, which then grew into a celebration of Macy's immigrant employee population. The story then explores something that still exists today: the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which consists of puppets that were originally made by Mr. Serg.Not only was Sweet's writing entertaining and informative, the illustrations in the book made me explore the book even more.I recommend it to anyone.
bpoche on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully textured illustrations combined with an engaging and true narrative make this book worthy of every award it receives. A story that few know before reading, but all want to share afterwards. In a science classroom, one could certainly spark a conversation about atomic masses as they relate to gases (helium, oxygen, etc.) on the periodic table.Highly recommended for any classroom. Many ways to go.
kratzerliz23 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book would appeal to students both in Elementary and Middle School because the writing was in story, fiction format, it did not seem like a non-fiction reading book. The artwork in the book was captivating and followed along with the text. This book would be exciting for children who like to invent and create things. The story tells about how Tony Sarg developed his puppets into working models in the Macy's Day Parade.
kharding on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book describes the life of John Sarg, and his contributions to puppetry and the Macy's parade. This book has great visuals, which give a lot of excitement to the book. I enjoyed the story-like style of the book as well. This book is engaging for students who wouldn't normally read non-fiction. I would use this book in my classroom in a read aloud. We have been focusing on more traditional non-fiction styles (in order to teach text features.) This book would be useful for gaining more student excitement about non-fiction. It would also lead to a greater discussion about what non-fiction is, because many of my students would initially think it is fiction because of the style and presentation.
DustinB1983 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A children's book about the innovator of the Macy's Parade balloons. It is an interesting look at how the ideas for the ballons evolved from a man's passion for puppets. It reads like a story and is full of wonderful illustrations.
JLCasanova on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book has very engaging pictures. It will appeal to students in K-5. It tells the story of Tony Sarg who created the ballons for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It tells of his loves for puppets and marionettes, and how his passion for his hobby led to his "big" moment. This book could serve as a starting point for science classes, and a math class could use this to discuss proportions.
jamiesque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Balloons Over Broadway recounts the ingenuity and creativity of Tony Sagh and his how he helped engineered the Macy's Day parade. The book opens with Tony,a curious youth, inventing a mechanism for feeding chickens and making life easier. This incident highlights a love of science and troubleshooting abilities that characterize Tony and contribute to his success.