I love Thanksgiving. It’s a relatively stress free holiday—no gifts to fret over, no required ornaments or decorations, the weather’s usually pretty okay and, if I’m really lucky, and not hosting the feast, there’s The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Macy’s is a magical place and it’s image—at least in my mind—is fortified by the parade.
It’s on my bucket list. At some point in my life, I will view the entire spectacle from the window of a hotel on the parade route. Afterwards, we, my husband and I, will stroll the streets of the Big Apple, ogling Christmas windows on Fifth Avenue, smiling and chatting about the floats and balloons along with the millions of others who have come to town for the very same reason. Ah, bliss! It may be cheesy but, it’s my idea of a great time.
Apparently, I’m not alone. I have a feeling that there’s a secret army of Macy’s Parade aficionados with Shana Corey being among them. How else could she have written such a charming story about the parade? As she readily admits in her note at the end of the book, she’s taken some license with the actual facts. However, the emotion is right. The story features little Milly, a new immigrant, feeling the plight of so many other immigrants who were missing the people and traditions they had left in their homelands.
Her father and his friends, workers at Macy’s, are blue. America is not yet home. Things here are different. The holidays will not be the same. Enter Milly with a big heart and a quick, inquisitive mind. Why mope about what is in the past? Why not bring the old customs to New York? Stroll and sing, wear costumes and be festive but in a new way, an American way. Why not have a parade? Milly thought it was a good idea. Mr. Macy thought it was inspired. A parade would capture the attention of all New Yorkers from the Rockefellers to Broadway chorus girls. And so, according to Ms. Corey, a new tradition was born. Even if it’s not exactly historically accurate, it’s a great story, an American story of a child’s imagination and American know-how.
Brett Helquist’s bright, bold illustrations capture Milly’s whirlwind adventures in the store and the excitement of the parade coming to fruition. His ability to capture emotion is the slant of an eye or a smirk adds humor as well as visual interest. Ms. Corey’s tale and Mr. Helquist’s drawings come together like Milly and Mr. Macy to make a production as big and grand—and American—as the dazzling Thanksgiving Day Parade itself.
Posted by: Eileen