THE NUTCRACKER by Niroot Puttapipat
Kirkus Star


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Puttapipat continues his stellar series of illustrated Christmas classics with this fresh look at the beloved ballet story, using a design similar to his memorable versions of The Night Before Christmas (2007) and Jingle Bells (2015).

The story from the ballet is skillfully summarized in lyrical text infused with sensory details. In this version, the little girl is called Clara, and the nutcracker toy is a gift from her godfather, Dr. Drosselmeyer. The exquisite illustrations done with ink and gouache use silhouetted figures in black set against jewel-toned backgrounds with touches of gold, red, and green. There are five main illustrations of key scenes, each spreading across three-quarters of a spread, with the accompanying text set off in the remaining quarter. In the last of these illustrations, Clara and her prince are welcomed to the Land of Sweets by the Sugar Plum Fairy. The following spread is the climax of the book—an astonishing pop-up construction showing Clara, the prince, and the fairy in front of the fantasy land. The pop-up scene includes towers with a connecting archway, four dancing couples, and imaginary trees with minute details. The intricately constructed scene has tiny, cutout details throughout, making the entire spread extremely fragile and in need of very careful handling (with adult guidance).

An exquisite interpretation with its own magical transformation. (Pop-up picture book. 4 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7636-8125-8
Page count: 12pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2016


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