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

ISBN-10: 0547199457
ISBN-13: 9780547199450
Author: Sweet, Melissa
Interest Level: K-3
Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: November 2011

Copyright: 2010

Page Count: 40

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Interest Level

Grades K-3

Reading Level

Lexile: AD1000L
Accelerated Reader Level: 5.4
Accelerated Reader Points: 0.5
Grade Level Equivalent: 5

BISAC Subjects

JUVENILE NONFICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Thanksgiving


JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Art

Presents a tribute to the creator of the giant balloons that fill the sky during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, tracing the work of artist Tony Sarg, whose innovative "upside-down puppet" creations have become the parade's trademark.
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AACPS Grade 2 Collections

AACPS Grade 2: STEAM Collection


Cheryl Dickemper, Collection Development Manager

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9/21/2011 3:12:40 PM
If you are looking for something to diversify classroom discussions around Thanksgiving, this is the book! So many of the elementary level texts centered on Thanksgiving are books about the pilgrims and Squanto, that it’s refreshing to add something different to the mix that focuses on one of the great American traditions associated with the holiday.

Written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet (who won a Caldecott Medal for her book River of Words, a picture book biography of poet William Carlos Willams), this book features gorgeous mixed media collages including watercolor artwork, fabric, actual toys, etc. The color and textures pop right off every page, and there are so many details in the illustrations that they merit their own read-through separate from the actual text.

The text of the book is a biography of Tony Sarg, a little-known name perhaps, but the man responsible for shaping the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade into the festive event it is today. We meet Sarg as a young boy, creatively rigging up a pulley system to avoid the chore of feeding the chickens. His creativity leads him into a career making marionettes and staging puppet shows on Broadway. We then see how his involvement with Macy’s begins with complicated window displays, then evolves into a parade with costumes and animals, eventually becoming the modern-day parade of huge helium-filled balloons.

Sarg’s outside-the-box thinking, his ability to troubleshoot, and his planning skills are highlighted in this book. With each new thing he tried to do for the parade, whether it was bringing in animals or figuring out how to get the balloons big enough and high enough off the ground so they could be seen by all spectators, Sarg had to problem-solve. This is a great text to read aloud to students before they begin an open-ended art project or science project to demonstrate to them the kind of thinking they will need to employ. This book could also be a great springboard for an art project drawn from the text involving making puppets with moveable parts that are controlled by strings or sticks, perhaps culminating in the performance of a puppet show. Or, it could just be a fun book to read to your students on that last day of school before the Thanksgiving holiday so that when they wake up on Thursday morning and watch the parade—the smells of turkey and stuffing wafting through the air—they will have a new appreciation for all of the work and history behind that part of the celebration.