THE NUTCRACKER by Stephanie Spinner


adapted by and illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Children preparing to attend a holiday performance of The Nutcracker will find this a helpful introduction to the beloved ballet. The text follows the ballet’s plot in straightforward chronological order, but this retelling ends (a little too soon) with Marie (and her prince) still in the Land of Sweets, just before Marie wakes up from her dream. The smoothly written story introduces all the major characters and dancers and includes dialogue that helps to clarify the plot. Malone’s watercolor illustrations are done in a muted palette with hazy lighting, emphasizing the 19th-century setting and the mysterious, dreamy aspects of the story; the colors and lighting brighten to delineate the magical nature of the Land of Sweets. Some of the main characters are illustrated more as actors in a play rather than as ballet dancers; the Sugar Plum Fairy, for example, is shown as a fairy with wings and bare feet, rather than as a ballerina with pointe shoes. A full-page author’s note gives a brief performance history of the ballet, and a fully orchestrated CD of the complete ballet is included. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84464-5
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2008


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