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Joan Reviews… Balloons Over Broadway

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

Story and illustrations by Melissa Sweet

Balloons Over Broadway











Published: 2011

Age Range: 6-9

Genre: Picture book – Biography

Awards: The Siebert Award, ALA Notable Children’s Book, and many more!

Joan read Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet and this is what she thought…

This book tells the story of puppeteer Tony Sarg, and his long-lasting gift to America. He created the inspired helium balloons that would become the trademark of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I thought it was really fun and interesting to see how Tony Sarg got his ideas, and how he kept working to improve on things. I felt happy reading this book because Tony loved what he was doing – making other people happy! The art style of these illustration is collages, which are very bright and colorful. The style is also very busy and cluttered is some places. The more elaborately collaged pages may be difficult for a young reader to navigate. The story would benefit if some of the spreads were simplified. The theme of Balloons Over Broadway is to relay the life and achievements of the man who created the first giant balloons that we still see today. The story steps through Tony Sarg’s life nicely, and does a great job outlining his progression to finally come up with our modern Macy’s Day Parade balloons.

Who would you recommend this book to?

I would recommend this title to kids starting to enjoy biographical stories. Balloons Over Broadway would probably be best enjoyed being read alone, so the reader can take their time to really examine all the illustrations. However, since some of the collage illustrations get very busy, it may be better for younger readers to read it with someone. An adult could help draw the child’s attention to different details in each picture. While I really enjoyed the story of this book, I think the collage art style may be difficult for some kids to focus on.


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