The McMullans follow up Nutcracker Noel (1994) with a slight tale that bears only traces of the same wit and vibrancy. Proud when Madam places her in the first spot at the barre, Noel dances with all her heart--until a new student, Anne Marie, displaces her, and another, Regina Louisa Belinda, knocks her to third. No matter how hard she tries, Noel can't keep up with them, until the class practices Cinderella. As her rivals compete with each other for the highest, most ferocious leaps, she once again dances from the heart. ""This is dancing!"" Madam exclaims rapturously. With an overwhelming lack of detail to focus on--other than the characters' exaggerated facial expressions and body language--viewers may find the succession of similar-looking tableaux monotonous. Unusually thoughtful readers may pull the larger lesson out, but to most, this tidy episode will seem both minor and visually claustrophobic.