Balloons Over Broadway : The True Story Of The Puppeteer Of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet

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

Discover the remarkable story of the puppeteer who brought magic to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with his invention of gigantic floating balloons. In this captivating picture book by Melissa Sweet, the amazing journey of Tony Sarg, an immigrant with a vibrant imagination, comes to life. Through beautiful collage illustrations and engaging storytelling, Sweet takes readers on a heartwarming exploration of Sarg’s childhood inventions and his ingenious creations that continue to enchant audiences nationwide.

Witness the joy that fueled Sarg’s passion for puppetry and his pioneering work in balloon design. Melissa Sweet’s remarkable artistry combined with Sarg’s inspiring tale creates a truly magical reading experience for readers of all ages. Prepare to be captivated by the genius behind the beloved Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons.

“This extraordinary blend of captivating visuals and informative content soars to incredible heights.” (Kirkus starred review)

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of Tony Sarg and Macy’s Parade

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, tells the tale of Tony Sarg, a brilliant puppeteer and innovator. From a young age, Sarg was fascinated by how things moved and he loved to invent. He even devised a clever system to feed the family chickens without leaving his bed!

As he grew older, Sarg moved to London and began making marionettes. His puppets were so lifelike and captivating that word of his talent spread quickly. Eventually, he found himself in New York City, where he caught the attention of Macy’s department store.

Macy’s enlisted Sarg to design a puppet parade for their holiday windows, and he crafted beautiful marionettes based on storybook characters. These puppets, attached to gears and pulleys, danced in Macy’s wondrous windows, captivating shoppers day after day. Macy’s was so impressed with Sarg’s work that they asked him to organize a parade for their employees to celebrate their own holiday traditions.

A Parade is Born

Sarg loved the idea of creating a parade based on street carnivals from around the world. He created costumes and designed horse-drawn floats. Macy’s even arranged for animals from the Central Park Zoo to join the parade.

The first parade, held in 1924, was a remarkable success. It celebrated America’s own holiday, Thanksgiving, and brought joy to the immigrants working at Macy’s who missed their own cultural celebrations. Year after year, the parade grew bigger and more spectacular.

The Birth of Balloons

As the parade continued to evolve, Sarg faced a challenge. The live animals in the parade frightened children, so he had to find a solution. Inspired by an Indonesian rod puppet, Sarg came up with an extraordinary idea – enormous, helium-filled balloons shaped like his beloved puppets.

Sarg collaborated with a company in Ohio to create these balloons out of rubberized silk. The material was sturdy yet lightweight, perfect for the floats to maneuver through the streets of New York City. To make the balloons even more exciting, Sarg filled them with helium, causing them to soar and sway high above the crowds.

On Thanksgiving morning, Sarg and his team released the balloons, and the crowd erupted in cheers as the magnificent puppets floated through the city. They danced and gestured in the wind, captivating everyone who witnessed this breathtaking spectacle.

A Legacy of Fun and Creativity

Tony Sarg’s innovative approach to puppetry forever changed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. His legacy lives on, with millions of people around the world tuning in each year to see the newest balloons floating above the streets of New York City. Sarg’s whimsical spirit and dedication to his craft have inspired countless artists, including his apprentices who went on to achieve their own fame in the world of puppetry, such as Bill Baird and Jim Henson.

In Balloons Over Broadway, Melissa Sweet beautifully captures the essence of Tony Sarg’s world through her illustrations and collages. She incorporated Sarg’s own illustrations and toys into the artwork, creating a visual experience that transports readers into the joyous and imaginative realm of this extraordinary puppeteer.

Ultimately, Sarg’s story reminds us of the importance of play in the creative process. His love for tinkering and figuring out how things worked propelled him to become one of the most renowned artists of his time. Balloons Over Broadway is not only a tribute to the man who brought magic to Macy’s, but also a celebration of the power of imagination and the joy that comes from making art.

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