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Monster Trouble in Nantucket

Monster Trouble in Nantucket

The Real Life Tale

Ever wondered what lies beyond the sandy beaches or rolling tides of the sea? Well, you’re not alone! Once, long ago in the 1930s, the good people of Nantucket were going about their days, completely unaware of what was about to happen.

 Suddenly, a fisherman named Bill Manville burst on the scene, raving in a news article about the terrible monster he saw out at sea! Not long after, several others reported seeing the horrible monster. Each frantic eyewitness that appeared added more and more credibility to Bill’s monster story. Panic built quickly throughout Nantucket, worsening still when more reports of wild things like monster-track sightings came pouring in. 

 The public’s fear and curiosity spiked the first time someone claimed to have captured the beast (though it turned out to be a false report). It wasn’t long before newspapers “from Cape Cod to California” were printing weekly coverage of the hunt for the creature, further instilling the fear of monsters into the people. But was all of this panic and fear truly necessary?

 The End of the Book

Spoiler alert; this big scary monster isn’t what it appears. During the very height of terror and confusion, someone spoke the long-awaited words, “Tony Sarg had caught the sea monster.” All of Nantucket—it seemed—swarmed onto the beach to try to catch a glimpse of the sad monster that had finally been defeated. The people crowded close, astounded by the sight that lay before them. 

 It was a huge, ginormous, ugly, big green monster... balloon? That’s right: a balloon. While the people of Nantucket busied themselves with imagining the creepiest creatures they could imagine, this harmless little green monster balloon was floating about in the waves, doing no one any harm. But how on earth did it get there? 

 At this puzzling moment, the guilty party at last came clean. The balloon had been designed by Tony Sarg, a famous puppeteer, as a publicity stunt for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The conspirators had agreed months before that this elaborate ruse was a good idea for a fun way to promote the parade. They tried to market the whole ordeal as a good thing since it hadn’t negatively affected anyone, and the people at Macy’s hadn’t attempted to capitalize on it. (However, they did readily admit to the thousands they received in free advertising from the debacle.) Though the end of this book doesn’t have a “happy ending” per se, many people, young kids and adults alike, got to see the Nantucket monster make its only flight in that year’s parade and someday tell others about the mysterious monster mess that led up to that point.

Sea Monster balloon
The sea monster balloon flew in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1937.

The History

Though creepy monsters don’t exist in real life, it may surprise you to discover that this cute story actually does. Tony Sarg really was a puppeteer, and he had a store in Nantucket. Since the Macy’s founder was also from there, they both agreed that Nantucket was a good choice for their stunt’s location. 

 Thinking that this was a great way to raise excitement for the parade, they carried out their plan that was bound to do wonders for their business and be good for a laugh someday. The balloon was crafted, shipped, and finally sighted on Wednesday, August 4, 1937. They had very much fun causing the stir, and by Saturday, August 21, 1937, the deed was done and the newspapers released an article explaining the whole thing. 

 They could have done a multitude of different things to draw attention to the parade, but those men made a choice that illustrates some very important concepts. First of all, don’t believe everything you read. Here in the United States, we posses the right to the freedom of the press. This means that newspapers can essentially print whatever they want; they don’t have to tell the truth. Secondly, newspapers can and will use this freedom. You must exercise wisdom when discerning whether you will or won’t believe the stories you’re presented with. Lastly, though it is up to us to find the truth hidden among the lies, it is also our responsibility to speak the truth in love. 

 These men chose to spread a lie they thought to be harmless for their own gain, but lies are never harmless. This story holds a great message for the next generation, urging them to always choose to speak the truth.

 The Perfect Monster Themed Book

As the title for this section suggests, of all the monster picture books out there, this is the perfect book for inspiring young readers to always tell the truth. Through the use of silly monsters like this one and fun illustrations, this super fun book will get young children of all kinds excited to read. Early readers will love the colorful illustrations of the adorable little monster, goofy characters, and lovely scenery. Trust us, you don’t want to miss it.




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About Darcy Pattison

Children’s book author and indie publisher DARCY PATTISON writes award-winning fiction and non-fiction books for children. Five books have received starred PW, Kirkus, or BCCB reviews. Awards include the Irma Black Honor award, five NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Books, two Eureka! Nonfiction Honor book, two Junior Library Guild selections, two NCTE Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts, a Notable Social Studies Trade Book, an Arkansiana Award, and the Susannah DeBlack Arkansas Children’s History Book
award. She’s the 2007 recipient of the Arkansas Governor’s Arts Award for Individual Artist for her work in children’s literature. Her books have been translated into ten languages.

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