BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY by Melissa  Sweet
Kirkus Star

BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY

The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

This bright, brimming picture biography commemorates Tony Sarg, a brilliant, self-taught artist whose innovative helium balloons delighted legions of Macy’s parade watchers from 1928 on.

Sweet sketches Sarg’s career as a puppeteer and marionette-maker. Moving from London to New York City, where his marionettes performed on Broadway, Sarg engineered mechanical storybook characters for Macy’s “Wondertown” holiday windows. In 1924, he created floats and costumes for the first Macy’s parade, which celebrated both immigrant and American holiday traditions. When the annual parade’s lions and tigers (borrowed from the Central Park Zoo) frightened children, Macy’s commissioned Sarg to replace them. Ever innovative, Sarg eventually utilized rubberized silk and helium to create larger, lighter balloons that could be controlled from below. Sweet’s charming mixed-media layouts form a playful bridge between her creative process and Sarg’s. She fashioned whimsical toys from painted blocks, buttons and fabric, combining them in photo-collages with old books, cut paper, imagined sketches for Sarg’s projects, watercolor images of parade scenes and much more. Endpapers inform and delight, too, with excerpts from a 1929 book about Sarg's marionettes and a front-page parade invitation in the 1933 New York Times. Backmatter is also a collage of treats, with an author’s note appending further biographical details and comments about the art. 

This clever marriage of information and illustration soars high. (bibliography of adult sources, quote sources, acknowledgements, period photo) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-547-19945-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2011




INTRODUCING ARTISTS WITH PICTURE BOOKS:

Children THE SECRET WORLD OF WALTER ANDERSON by Hester Bass
by Hester Bass
Children FABULOUS! by Bonnie Christensen
by Bonnie Christensen
Children SUMMER BIRDS by Margarita Engle
by Margarita Engle
Children ACTION JACKSON by Jan Greenberg
by Jan Greenberg

MORE BY MELISSA SWEET

ChildrenLITTLE RED WRITING by Joan Holub
by Joan Holub
ChildrenBRAVE GIRL by Michelle Markel
by Michelle Markel
ChildrenA SPLASH OF RED by Jen Bryant
by Jen Bryant

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenSANDY’S CIRCUS by Tanya Lee Stone
by Tanya Lee Stone
ChildrenA PIG PARADE IS A TERRIBLE IDEA by Michael Ian Black
by Michael Ian Black
ChildrenA RIVER OF WORDS by Jen Bryant
by Jen Bryant