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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

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  10,373 ratings  ·  1,808 reviews
Everyones a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macys 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, ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
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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.

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This is the story of Tony Sarg and how the Macys Day Thanksgiving Parade came into being. Tony figured out and designed all the balloons as upside down puppets. Instead of controlling them from above, they were controlled from below. He was a man who kept his child-like wonder. The parade started in 1928 because immigrants missed a street carnival like back in their own countries. Tony is the mentor of the person who did puppets for the Sound of Music and that person mentored Jim Henson. He kind ...more
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tony Sarg always had a fascination with things on strings, and he used his love of marionettes to get a job designing windows for Macy's department store.


In 1924, he was approached by other Macy's employees, immigrants all, to help create a parade to celebrate holiday traditions. When it was discovered that real, live animals in the parade were frightening the children, Tony designed his own fantastical animals - part puppet, part balloon, his air-filled rubber bags strolled along the streets
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
Lisa Vegan
This is an outstanding book about Tony Sarg, the art of marionettes & puppetry and the history of the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade.

Ive never really enjoyed puppets or marionettes and Im not a fan of parades, but I did enjoy this book. The only time I saw the Macys 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 Ive enjoyed a few Disney parades. The marionette show in
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"
An excellent history of the man who created the balloons for the Macys Day Parade. ...more
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Stories About the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
Winner of the 2012 Robert F. Sibert Medal, awarded annually to the best informational children's title published that year, this beautifully-illustrated picture-book biography follows the story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer and marionette-maker who created the very first floating balloon characters for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. From his childhood as a toy collector and tinkerer, to his days as one of the foremost puppeteers of his day - in a wonderful example of traditions being passed ...more
Kayla Edwards
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 ...more
Luisa Knight
What a great book!

Do you remember the "Lonely Goatherd" scene in the Sound of Music movie where Maria and the children sing and put on a play with marionettes? And you remember all of the Muppets that Jim Henson created, right?

Well, the man who made the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade so iconic was their tutor!

This book introduces you to Tony Sarg, the man who loved marionettes, had a marionette show on Broadway and ended up envisioning the wondrous blimps and balloons we all so enjoy seeing as
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
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.
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
Marc Bisson
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balloons Over Broadway is an amazing story of Tony Sarg, who was a puppeteer who inspired large balloons in New York, which have become a staple of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. My students were engaged and loved the vibrant and beautiful pictures from the book. This book was followed by a writing prompt where students wrote about things that they were thankful for, including things they were passionate about, just like Tony Sarg.
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. ...more
Mariah Roze
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.
Jenna Dif
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed-books
Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade is a nonfiction book written about Tony Sarg, the man who invented the larger than life balloons that fly every year at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. The story gives the reader a well-rounded view of Sarg, and talks about his adventures as a young boy in which he created a way to feed his family's chickens without getting out of bed! The story goes on to talk about how Macy's recruited Sarg to create a window show ...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
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 Macys Thanksgiving Day parade. As a boy, Tony loved to figure out how things moved. As an adult, he began to make marionettes
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 ...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 Macys 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 Macys to create a puppet parade for their famous holiday window display, which eventually ended up leading to the idea for the parade. However, ...more
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 Macys 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 still ...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 Macys Day parade balloons. The story begins at the beginning of Sargs life where he loved to create new things and make them move. He loved Marionettes and brought them to Broadway where Macys heard about his puppets. Macys asked him to create and design a puppet parade for the Macys holiday display window. This turned into an actual parade for Macys employees where Sarg helped replace live animals ...more
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Summary: Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macys Parade, by Melissa Sweet, narrates the story of Tony Sarg. He was a puppeteer, who loved to create puppets. He improved his craft so much that Macys asked him to create puppets for the parade. On his first attempt however, the puppets were small and not everyone could see them. After multiple attempts, he came up with the idea of the upside down marionettes or balloons that we see today.

Evaluation: I have watched the Macy
Hannah Taylor
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Balloons Over Broadway is such a great read. To be honest, I did not expect it to be so good when I picked it up. However the illustrations and bits of humor (in the way Tony thought as a child) were just the right touch. As a future teacher, I definitely want to use this book to show my students that reading non-fiction does not have to be boring. Not only that, but someone who made a tradition was once in the very same shoes they are, not wanting to do chores and thinking creatively. This book ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit
This story is about a boy named Tony Sarg who had a passion for figuring out how things moved. He became a marionette man at the age of six. When he grew up he moved to London and he realized marionettes were "out of style." So he decided to make some wooden realistic puppets and he put on some shows. He was so great at it, and his puppets moved life like that people looked for him to create more. He later moved to New York and performed on Broadway. Macys heard about his performances and asked ...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
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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 Associates 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

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“Every little movement has a meaning of its own.
-Tony Sarg”
More quotes…