Sweet Ella Bella returns for her fourth appearance in a story based on a famous ballet, this time in a dreamlike interaction with the cast of The Nutcracker.
As in Ella’s previous dancing adventures, the story begins in Madame Rosa’s ballet class in an old (possibly enchanted) theater, with the teacher introducing the music and plot of The Nutcracker. When the teacher and other students adjourn for a Christmas party, Ella creeps onto the stage of the theater, where she is magically swept into a performance of the ballet. She accompanies the characters of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as the ballet continues, visiting the Land of Sweets and watching the Sugar Plum Fairy’s dance. When the music fades, Ella returns to reality and rejoins Madame Rosa for the party, where there is one sugar mouse treat left just for Ella. The ballet’s plot is skillfully summarized, and the magical transitions unfold in a believable way. Delicate watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the exciting battle scene and create an ethereal atmosphere for the Land of Sweets with backgrounds of pink blossoms and candies. An author’s note offers more information about the ballet.
A lovely introduction for children preparing to see a performance of the classic holiday ballet. (Picture book. 3-6)