Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade, by Melissa Sweet is a biography about Tony Sarg, the man who created the first puppets of the Macy's Parade. The book shares interesting tid bits like a pulley and rope contraption Tony made as a young boy so he could feed the chickens without getting out of bed at 6:30 in the morning. From this initial funny anecdote, Sweet tells of Tony's marionettes in London, his move to New York City, his work on Broadway, and finally his job at Macy's store designing their store window displays.
It is at this point, a parade began for immigrants who missed the festivals of their homelands. Sweet tells us that Tony began making costumes and floats for it. Animals were part of the parade, but the live animals scared young children. Macy's asked Tony to think of something different. Inspired by an Indonesian rod puppet in his collection, Tony decided on puppets. His first puppets were a hit, but were too small to be seen by the large crowds. Over the years, he made some adjustments in materials, enlarged balloons, and eventually made some balloon puppets similar to what we now immediately associate with the Macy's Parade.
Overall, the book tells an inspiring history of Tony Sarg and the Macy's parade balloons. It is a fitting book for our family as we love watching the Macy's Parade each Thanksgiving Day. Additionally, since we are currently moving through history toward the present time in our studies, this picture biography fits right into that time period.