THE NUTCRACKER by E.T.A. Hoffmann

THE NUTCRACKER

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

According to the introduction, the beloved Yuletide ballet that we see was based on a gentler version of the tale by Alexandre Dumas père. This version, which differs from the ballet in several ways, is based on Hoffmann’s 1816 original and tells a richer tale. Clara and Fritz are delighted with the Christmas gifts of their godfather Drosselmeier, especially the Nutcracker, which Clara cares for even after Fritz breaks its jaw. Clara encounters the Mouse King and his minions not once but twice in dreamlike sequences, and in between, she hears Drosselmeier’s stories of “the Hard Nut” and “Why the Nutcracker Is So Ugly.” Those intensify her resolve and add layers to the story. The gouache illustrations have a beautiful folktale dreaminess—echoes of Chagall here—as Paschkis borders center images with horror vacui designs in single bright colors. The figures are angular and exaggerated but wonderfully detailed. Paschkis plays with repetitive motifs and silhouetted patterns: Clara’s long braid regularly whips out of the picture plane. The accompanying CD by the London Symphony Orchestra contains excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s score. Unfortunately, there is no credit given for either the introduction or the retelling itself. (Picture book/folktale. 7-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-8118-2962-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2001




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