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by E.T.A. Hoffman & illustrated by LInda Bronson & adapted by Stephanie True Peters

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-525-47687-0
Publisher: Dutton

In an introductory note to adult readers, Peters describes the evolution of the story and later ballet that have developed into an annual holiday tradition for most American ballet companies. Because so many young children attend this ballet, Peters developed a simplified version of the ballet’s story specifically to prepare youngsters for understanding a performance. The story is told in simple sentences with a clear plot line and delineation of the characters and their transformations. Short segments of dialogue interwoven into the text will also help young ballet fans understand the relationships between the characters. Bronson’s bold, flowing illustrations with a modernistic flair are a departure from sugarplum-sweet versions of the story. Her Godfather Drosselmeyer and the fighting mice are a little scary, as they are in many stage versions of the ballet, which will also help prepare children for an actual performance. Bronson uses a palette of deep jewel tones, with each page set off by a darker border that suggests the proscenium arch of the theater stage. The spreads illustrating the Land of Sweets shift into brighter shades, with swirling accents that effectively indicate the dancers in motion. (Picture book. 3-6)