A gray kitten named Mia poses in her glittering pink tutu on the cover of this somewhat confusing retelling of The Nutcracker ballet.
As the story opens, Mia and her family are having Christmas dinner with her visiting grandparents, with Mia dressed in her pink tutu. The grandfather cat presents Mia with a toy nutcracker and begins to tell her the story of the famous ballet. As the grandfather begins the story, the narrative shifts to a performance of The Nutcracker, with Mia now playing the part of Clara, a flamingo, her godfather. All the roles in The Nutcracker are played by different animals, and it is a little puzzling visually to see a giraffe and a pig peeking out from inside the mouse costumes. The ballet unfolds in traditional fashion, with Mia/Clara dancing with her feline prince and Mia’s sister dancing the part of the Sugarplum Fairy. The ballet sequence ends when Mia returns to her own bed with her new nutcracker toy keeping watch from her windowsill. The illustrations are greeting-card pretty, with lots of pink and purple and swirling snowflakes.
The all-animal cast of characters diminishes the effectiveness of this interpretation as an introduction to the story for younger children. There are many appealing retellings of the ballet in print; The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers (2007) remains the gold standard. (Picture book. 3-6)