Read to Me Picture Book Challenge: Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-19945-0
Interest Level: All Levels
Reviewed from purchased copy.

BLURBEveryone'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?"  Tony Sarg—puppeteer, illustrator and legendary prankster who once declared, "I never worked a day in my life."  In brilliant collage illustrations, award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of this puppeteer, 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.

I don't know that I can say anything about this book that hasn't already been said.  Except that I really enjoyed it and the first and second graders I shared it with really enjoyed it as well.  I really liked the emphasis on Sarg following his passion and turning it into a career.  I hope my students realize that work can be enjoyable.  I also appreciated that Sweet emphasized Sarg's persistence in solving the problems that he was presented with and how his creations got better over time.  The illustrations of this book are delightful.  The watercolor illustrations were bright and child friendly.  The collage illustrations provided an opportunity to show the students a different kind of art.  I also talked to them about how collages are created.  Not only does this book provide a fascinating story and great artwork, but it provided a great precursor to the students creating their own puppets.  Sweet has a great activity guide on her website. The students really enjoyed working on these and taking them home. I highly recommend this book.

WATERING LEVEL:  14 of 36 Completed.


  1. I keep seeing rave reviews about this one and I have to say I do want to see a copy. I like the emphases you have drawn out of the story. As a guidance counsellor I would like to show this to some of my high school students!

  2. This would be a great book to use with any age group. Lots of great information.


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