Title: Balloons Over Broadway
Author: Melissa Sweet
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Audience: Ages 6 and up
Summary: This book traces the story of Tony Sarg and how his love of making marionettes help him develop and design giant balloons for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving parade.
Literary elements at work in Story: The illustrations have a workshop feel, with collage lettering, bubbled ideas, sketches, and diagrams. This workshop style reinforces the theme of the story, that Tony Sarg kept adapting and developing his ideas as conditions and needs for his marionettes changed. The illustrations of the colorful balloons at the end captures the exuberance of Tony’s hope and plan for the parade.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story?: The immigrant history of America is noted and celebrated not only by the fact that Tony is an immigrant, but by the fact that the Macy’s parade was launched because immigrant employees at Macy’s missed their cultural holiday traditions. Tony’s vision for the parade was one that would reflect street carnivals from all over the world.
Theological conversation partners: Using our creativity and innovation by working hard can be a Christian practice—a way to live, a way to serve, a way to bring delight and happiness to others. Tony continues to adapt and develop his puppets, problem-solving for each new challenge. His overall goal is to have the people in the community able to see and enjoy the puppets (balloons) at the parade.
Faith Talk Questions:
- How did Tony manage to feed the chickens without getting out of bed?
- Describe Tony’s first Macy’s window display. What did he put in it?
- Why did Macy’s first put on a parade at Thanksgiving in 1924?
- How does Tony handle challenges and changes? Can you give examples?
- How is Tony, as an adult, still a lot like he was as a child?
This review is written by Anne Rankowitz
Balloons over Broadway by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.