“Every little movement has a meaning of its own.” ~ Tony Sarg
When Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet was little, her grandmother took her to New York City to see the holiday windows at Macy’s, and like millions of us, she watched the Thanksgiving parade every year on television. She could never have imagined that one day she’d be writing and illustrating a book about the man who first created the window marionettes and giant helium-filled parade balloons that have taken center stage in American holiday tradition for the last 80+ years.
If ever there was a perfect biographer for Master Puppeteer Tony Sarg, it’s Melissa Sweet. A true kindred spirit, she shares Sarg’s keen interest in toys (collecting, designing and constructing them). And like Sarg, she’s a children’s book artist who’s always enjoyed tinkering and figuring out how things work. There’s that love for full immersion in process and experimentation, fueled by a playful childlike sensibility.
In Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), Sweet describes how Sarg’s fascination with making things move began in childhood. He was a “marionette man” by the age of six, when he designed a pulley system so he could feed the chickens early each morning without leaving his bed.