Book review: Ballons over Broadway by Melissa Sweet a must have for #Thanksgiving

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade

Reading level: Ages 4 and up
Hardcover: 40 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
ISBN-10: 0547199457
ISBN-13: 978-0547199450

Book Information:

Who invented the first balloons for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! Everyone’s a New Yorker on Thanksgiving Day, when young and old rise early to see what giant new balloons will fill the skies for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Who first invented these “upside-down puppets”? In brilliant collage illustrations, the award-winning artist Melissa Sweet tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, capturing his genius, his dedication, his zest for play, and his long-lasting gift to America—the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Parade.

Melissa Sweet


About the Author:

Melissa Sweet has illustrated nearly 100 children’s books from board books to picture books and nonfiction titles. Her collages and paintings have appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Madison Park Greetings, Smilebox and for eeBoo Toys, which have garnered the Oppenheim and Parents Choice Awards. She has written and illustrated three books: Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, Tupelo Rides the Rails, and Carmine: A Little More Red, a New York Times Best Illustrated, 2005.

Melissa illustrated A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant, a 2008 Caldecott Honor book, an NCTE Notable Children’s Book and a New York Times Best Illustrated. Recent titles include: The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra, Rubia and the Three Osos by Susan Middleton Elya, Baby Bears Big Dreams by Jane Yolen and Day is Done by Peter Yarrow.


As a kid, I was always busy making paper dolls, playing with Paint by Number kits, Colorforms, a Spirograph. My first art lesson was watching Bob Gnagy on television in the 1960’s and I’ve been drawing ever since. Now I write and illustrate picture books in Rockport, Maine, a picturesque harbor town. My ideas come from everywhere—the landscape, something I hear on the radio or from a book I’m reading. When I’m not in the studio I love to ride my bicycle and hike with my two dogs, Rufus (who has a starring role in my book, CARMINE) and Nellie, a sheltie, who acts like a ninja in a ballerina costume.
A look inside Ballons over Broadway.



My thoughts:

I love this book. Not only is it a fascinating story but the illustrations are amazing. When I got the Press Release for this book I knew I needed it for my little M. I always try and make Thanksgiving special because I feel like it can easily get over looked with Christmas. In our home it has been tradition to wake up every year on Thanksgiving and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade while the turkey is cooking.

After reading this book I cannot wait to watch to watch the parade with little M and see his eyes light up. I loved all the history that was put into this book. Even though I have seen this parade ever since I can remember I was not familiar with the history of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Before my husband and I were married we went to New York City and actually saw Macy’s windows that were decorated for Christmas. It is something I won’t forget and I hope to one day take Little M to see it to. I give this book 5 out of 5! Go get it before Thanksgiving and make a new tradition to read Balloon’s on Broadway every Thanksgiving before the parade. Author Melissa Sweet has a page on her website where you can make a Puppet Paddle to go along with the story!


*I received a copy of this book from  Houghton Mifflin to assist in this review. All thoughts are my own and may differ from others. No other compensation was received.


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