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Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade

Last updated Monday, June 11, 2012

Author: Melissa Sweet
Date of Publication: 2011
ISBN: 0547199457
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2012

Synopsis: 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”? Meet Tony Sarg, puppeteer extraordinaire! 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.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Has anyone ever been to a parade before?
•  Have you ever seen the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade?

•  Marionette: a puppet
•  Pulley: a wheel
•  Attach: to connect
•  Jostling: bumping, pushing, shoving
•  Immigrant: someone who moves to another country for permanent residence
•  Dazzling: exciting, impressing
•  Propped: held up

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever heard of Broadway?
•  Why were people so enthuiastic about the parade?
•  What was your favorite balloon in the book?
•  What chore would you like to mechanize?
•  What's a window display?
•  Has anyone seen the Goodyear Blimp?
•  Why would the children be afraid of lions and tigers? Are you afraid of them?
•  Have you seen something that no one else who was there seen?

Craft ideas:
•  Make puppets or marionettes like the ones Tony made. Make parade balloons and attach them to strings. Make animals out of paper and tape them to the balloons. Attach popsicle sticks or strings to balloon for the kids to hold.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!