Spotlight on Picture Books:
Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
I couldn’t help myself this afternoon. I just had to stop by the local bookstore on my way home from the grocery store. I always head straight for the children’s book section. I ran into two of my students this trip. It’s a rare occasion that I don’t see at least one or two of them. They always seem so surprised to see me outside of the library, like it’s magic or something!
I found several goodies today. I was particularly impressed by this new book by Melissa Sweet. Balloons Over Broadway (2011) is the story of Tony Sarg, the toy collecting puppeteer who is credited for designing the first giant helium balloons for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. Melissa Sweet built her own toys as part of her writing experience, and they appear on several pages of the book. Also pictured are detailed drawings of Tony, his marionettes, and the helium balloons we see in the parade today. The last page of the book includes an author’s note and a photograph of the one and only Tony Sarg as well as a note about the mixed media used in the book. An all around fantastic picture book!
I love to read about innovative people in history who are rarely spoken or written about. Balloons Over Broadway is an example of a historical fiction picture book that works. I loved it so much that I bought a copy for myself. Take a moment to visit Melissa Sweet’s website. You won’t be disappointed! You will find an incredible link to a Balloons Over Broadway activity kit along with other fun surprises. Melissa has also collaborated with notable picture book authors like Judy Sierra and Jane Yolen. I love the quote on her homepage-you’ll understand why when you read it!