Monday, July 8, 2013

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

Author & Illustrator:   Melissa Sweet
Publisher:  Houghton Mifflin
Publication Year:   2011
Location: Knox County Public Library- Powell

Awards:   Sibert, NCTE Orbis Pictus

Summary:  The biography of Tony Sarg who created the first Macy's large parade balloons/puppets in 1928. In the beginning, Sarg's life on a farm is presented in a comic strip form. The full-page spreads soon bring us into Tony's move to the city with his marionettes and his work at Macy's. When they   decide that live animals are too dangerous for the Thanksgiving Day parade, the company turns to Tony to come up with a "spectacular" idea. Thinking of blimps, he comes up with the idea for large puppet/balloons to float over the parade ("But what if the controls were Below and the puppet could Rise up?") In an awesome vertical spread, the first balloon elephant is shown--"It was a parade New Yorkers would never forget!" The amazingly detailed mixed media collages are the true stars here. I could stare at the illustrations for hours and find new things to look at each time.

Classroom Ideas: Could be used around Thanksgiving time in conjunction with the Macy's parade or in a study of the 1920s. An art teacher could also use this gorgeous book to talk about collage and mixed media or to create puppets.

Extras: The endpapers include more information about Tony Sarg's Marionettes and an original NYT 1933 advertisement. There's also an author's note about Tony Sarg, one about the art in the book, some thank yous, a Bibliography, and quotation sources.
An activity kit from Houghton Mifflin Books

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