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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  8,035 Ratings  ·  1,451 Reviews
2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal Winner

Winner of the 2012 NCTE Orbis Pictus Award

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, the aw
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Laura I enjoy the entire book. Mr. Sarg was family to us, so this is a very important story to my family. We are proud that his story is being shared.

Community Reviews

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Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
indulge me in a bit of a different review for this book:

Each year Thanksgiving Day finds me reminiscing back to childhood and smells of turkey cooking, family, laughter, love and of course, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. My mother was cooking in the kitchen but she'd pop into the living room and join me and my father to watch the marching bands, the crowds and of course those magnificent balloons floating down the streets of New York. I always thought I'd like to venture to New York and see
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe that I forgot to say how much I love, love, love this book. When I was a classroom teacher, many of my students were immigrants or just generally unaware of American culture. They truly needed a teacher to show them the Olympics, Obama's inauguration, Bush's state dinner, and uniquely American celebrations. Balloons Over Broadway is a beautiful way to introduce kids to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Totally recommended as a nonfiction (and picture book and American culture) ...more
I thoroughly enjoyed this picture book biography of Tony Sarg, creator of the first balloons in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

As a boy, Tony loved to figure out how things worked and he loved to build things (his solution to feeding the chickens on cold mornings left me both laughing and admiring!). His keen mind and sense of imagination and fun held steadfast to adulthood (and a move from his home in England) and soon he was designing amazing marionettes and even created the "Wondertown" w
Lisa Vegan
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Crystal Marcos
This is an outstanding book about Tony Sarg, the art of marionettes & puppetry and the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

I’ve never really enjoyed puppets or marionettes and I’m not a fan of parades, but I did enjoy this book. The only time I saw the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in person, I was six. I was not that entertained. Later on though, I have always liked the parade section in the movie Miracle on 34th Street. And I’ve enjoyed a few Disney parades. The marionette show
Kayla Edwards
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully done biography that my students really enjoy. It's great for getting their creativity flowing and for leading into some cool science-related discussions about helium vs. air, etc. The knowledge that the big Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade started out with puppets is really inspiring. The illustrations are beautiful. A great modern Thanksgiving Day read aloud!
The fascinating story of Tony Sarg, renowned puppeteer and creator of the Macy's parade balloon puppets. Outstanding design and crisp, engaging text invite readers into Sarg's creative process.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book is the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal winner, and deservingly so. I love books in which I learn something, and this one introduced me to Tony Sarg, who created the giant Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, which are really marionettes controlled from the bottom instead of the top (I didn't know that!). It was interesting to read about the early parades, before the big balloons were invented, and how the concept of the balloons evolved. (I liked reading about the id ...more
Annie Friedlander
Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Balloons Over Broadway is the story of Tony Sarg, a puppeteer who helped transform the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade into the well-known event it is today. The book begins with Tony's childhood love for tinkering and progresses through the rest of his life as an artist who became known as the father of American puppetry.

The book's layout and illustrations capture Tony's playful personality and reflect his process for designing and creating his works. The illustrations are made as a result of the a
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is great! My students and I learned so much from this book. I had no idea how the Macy Parade even started.

The only reason this book was not 5 stars was because the vocabulary is a little hard in this book. We had to talk through a couple of words.
Michele Knott
Fantastic biography about Tony Sarg, the man who introduced the infamous balloons in Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. The book details the evolution of the parade from floats and animals, to the famous balloons we see on TV now! Great illustrations and authentic material shown in the illustrations.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 520-info
Balloons Over Broadway introduces readers to the life and work of Tony Sarg, mastermind behind the legendary creations in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. At a young age, Tony mastered the art of making marionettes, and his talents eventually took him to New York City. He started his career at Macys by designing a "puppet parade" for the store's holiday windows. His work was met with success, and he took on an even bigger project-designing a parade filled with the music and dancing loved by s ...more
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Balloons Over Broadway is a picture book biography of Tony Sarg. The book has such a fun layout. Each page is colorful and interesting, and even the text pops out from the page as if it were pasted on. The entire book is like one big, fun collage of information! This book would be great to introduce students to biographies. It will definitely keep readers interested and entertained. The Macy's Parade is a holiday tradition for many all across the United States, and it was very intriguing to know ...more
Apr 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Edit 9-21-13 have to move this book to a 5 star after reading the ebook version via the SMART Board these last 2 weeks with third through fifth grade. Students and teachers are loving it; I've found something new each time!

exuberant combo of easy to read information and whimsical illustrations fashioned from a variety of media, very child friendly. I bet lots of people never gave a thought as to how the famous parade came to have those wonderful balloons.
This is the story of Tony Sarg, the man who created the giant balloons of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The history behind the parade and how these balloons were first imagined is so fascinating and the illustrations are so joyful that they will immediately lift the spirits of anyone in need of a mood booster\.
Melissa Bray
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tony Sarg was infatuated with marionette puppets as a child, and his love only expanded as he grew older. The Macy’s Day Parade had live animals that grew too dangerous and loud, so Tony was in charge of coming up with a better idea. He used his knowledge of puppetry and came up with giant animal designs, ranging up to sixteen feet tall! They were, however, heavy and hard to handle. Tony came up with an “upside marionette” version of balloons for his animals, which are the style of balloons sti ...more
Beth Wozencraft
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balloons Over Broadway looks at the true story of the puppeteer, Anthony “Tony” Sarg, behind the Macy’s Day parade balloons. The story begins at the beginning of Sarg’s life where he loved to create new things and make them move. He loved Marionettes and brought them to Broadway where Macy’s heard about his puppets. Macy’s asked him to create and design a puppet parade for the Macy’s holiday display window. This turned into an actual parade for Macy’s employees where Sarg helped replace live ani ...more
Becca Cohen
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balloons Over Broadway is a great informational text that tells the story of Tony Sarg, the man responsible for creating the gargantuan balloons featured in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. The book begins by recounting Tony's first invention when he was only eight years old and trying to avoid the hassle of completing his chores. As Tony grows, his passion for creating does as well, and he never lets bumps in the road deter him fro reaching his goals. When Macy's reaches out to Tony to help ...more
Erika Stancil
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balloons over Broadway was the true story of how the famous Macy's Day Parade balloons were created. A Puppeteer who had a knack for creating appealing shows with his puppets was given an offer by Macy's department store to put his puppets up in a store window to draw more people into the store. The puppets moved mechanically and drew the attention and amazement of children and adults alike so much Macy decided they wanted his puppets in their parade. Unfortunately, puppets are small and close t ...more
Madison Baity
Mar 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: elm335-wow-books
Balloons Over Broadway is a true story about a puppeteer, Tony Sarg, who becomes the puppeteer behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The story begins with Tony as a young boy with the idea to bring items to life with movement. As an adult, he becomes famous for his marionette puppets, which do in fact move as if they are living things. He is asked by Macy’s to create a puppet parade for their famous holiday window display, which eventually ended up leading to the idea for the parade. Howeve ...more
Laura Ann
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is written about Tony Sarg and the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. I enjoyed reading about how his ideas for the parade evolved. I thought this book was very well-written and the illustrations were amazing. The pictures are very colorful, and made you want to keep reading. I loved reading this book, and it also taught me the history of the Macy's parade, which I always enjoyed watching as a child. It was interesting to see how the parade changed over time, and how Tony grew ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
Source: Sibert Award
I read this as an ebook on my computer. While it was similar to reading the book version, I would prefer to have the actual book. It was easier to look at the illustrations, especially when the direction of the pages changed and were vertical.

Balloons Over Broadway is a biography about Tony Sarg, the man that invented the “upside down marionettes” in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. As a boy, Tony loved to figure out how things moved. As an adult, he began to make marionet
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
Melissa Sweet's "Balloons Over Broadway" gives tribute to the origins of not only Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition in New York, but to significant contributions to the artist who made it happen- Anthony Frederick Sarg. What makes Melissa Sweet's account of this true story so appealing for readers is that she mixes her own artistry, Miss Sweet is marionette/puppeteer maker herself, in designing each page with the fascinating true tale of how Tony Sarg solved the problem of keeping very la ...more
Alex Baugh
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: randomly-reading
Today is inflation day in New York City and it has nothing to do with the economy, but everything to do with blowing up the giant balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Every Thanksgiving, we see these giant balloons make their way down Broadway. Old ones get retired, new ones are added to the group, but lots of balloons are always there. Yet, have you ever wondered how it all started? If you have, then Balloons Over Broadway is the book for you.

In it, artist/author Melissa Sweet tells
Alexandra Ibberson
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidlit
This book is the true story about the creator of the hot air balloons in the Macy's Day parade. The book won a Robert F. Sibert Award. It is the biography of Anthony Frederick Sarg. Sarg was interested in creating marionettes from a young age. When he was an adult, he moved to London to make marionettes for kids and later moved to New York City to do Broadway shows. While Sarg was in New York City, Macy's learned about his skills in creating marionettes and asked him to create puppets for their ...more
Kirah Marshall
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summaries
1. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade, as you can guess, tells the story behind the man who created the balloons that started the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It begins by introducing Tony Sarg as a young boy who was very interested in how things moved. It then went to his adulthood, where he moved to London. He began making marionettes for kids, and these toys became very popular. Then he moved to NYC, and his marionettes began performing on Broad ...more
Jun 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Fiction twin text – Milly and the Macy’s Day Parade, by Shana Corey (2006)

Milly and the Macy’s Day Parade has the same subject as Balloons over Broadway, the Macy’s parade. It seemed to be the logical choice as a twin text, and the only concern was that it was published in 2006. The employees at Macy’s are sad around the holidays so Milly wants to do something to make their holiday joyful so she work with Mr. Macy to create
Paige Scott
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-summaries
1) Balloons over Broadway is a true story of a puppeteer named Tony Sarg with a theme of to never give up on your dreams. The story begins when Tony was just a little boy with an interesting idea and a love of making still objects come to life with movement. As he grew older, he became very well known for his marionettes, puppets that moved as if they were living. The Macys Day Parade asked Tony to create a "puppet parade" for the department store's holiday display. This display was a window dis ...more
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Kids who love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will enjoy this history of the parade, especially because of the outstanding artwork by author/illustrator Melissa Sweet.

When the parade started in 1924, it was planned by Tony Sarg, who designed puppets for the store’s holiday windows. The parade featured employees in costume, horse-drawn floats, and animals from New York’s Central Park Zoo. But the animals roared and growled and frightened the children, so Macy’s asked Tony to come up with somet
Jun 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Balloons over Broadway The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet

Audience: Pre-K through adult would enjoy this book

Appeal: It is very easy to see why "Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade" has won awards. Even though this non-fiction picture book is written for children, I learned a lot from it! I guess I have always taken the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade for granted and never gave much thought to why Macys started and continue to hold this parade each year, and I certainly did not know how long this parade has been in exi
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: info-bios
This beautifully illustrated picture book is one that students of all ages would enjoy reading. This Robert Sibert award-winning book, tells the story of Tony Sarg and how his Marionette inventions helped pave the way for the design of the floats at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. This biography explains how the parade came to be known what it is today based on this amazing man and his invention.
The illustrations in this book are magical and they truly make this book unique and special. The
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RDG291 1 3 Apr 23, 2017 11:33PM  
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There is more than one author with this name

Melissa Sweet grew up in a suburban neighborhood that had lots of kids, kick-the-can games on summer nights, and Percy's candy store right nearby.

Later she received her Associate’s Degree from Endicott Junior College in Beverly, Massachusetts, and studied art at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Sweet began began illustrating children's books in 1986 and h
More about Melissa Sweet...

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