Best known as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker is a charming book in its own right. Full of magic and childish wonder, this coming-of-age novella by E.T.A. Hoffmann has something for everyone: beautiful dolls, ferocious battles and dark undertones. It truly has all the elements of a fairy tale. Younger readers will be ...
Best known as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker is a charming book in its own right. Full of magic and childish wonder, this coming-of-age novella by E.T.A. Hoffmann has something for everyone: beautiful dolls, ferocious battles and dark undertones. It truly has all the elements of a fairy tale. Younger readers will be enchanted by this children's classic, while older readers will be intrigued to discover the background to the famous ballet libretto. It is Christmas Eve and little Marie has tired of her new presents, happily playing with a nutcracker instead. So when her brother Fritz breaks it, she is horrified, tenderly bandaging the little nutcracker with her ribbon and putting him to bed. When the clock strikes midnight, Marie is stunned to see an army of mice advancing, led by a seven-headed Mouse King. Her very own nutcracker leads the dolls and toys against the mouse army and a violent battle ensues. Just as the nutcracker looks like he might lose, Marie throws her shoe at the mice, and injures herself as she falls over. When she wakes up, her arm is bandaged but nobody will believe her unlikely tale of how she came to hurt herself.Soon after, her godfather comes for a visit and tells her the story of the nutcracker. As the tale unfolds, Marie learns about the ongoing feud between the mice and their enemy Princess Pirlipat. It sounds fanciful, but could it be true? And if the fairy tale is true, shouldn't there be a Prince Charming in the offing for Marie? This timeless tale is full of the magic of Christmas, but is a delight to read at any time of the year. Its enduring popularity is testament to its originality and charm.
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I recall listening to The Nutcracker as a child, but who would guess that sixty years later the same story holds a fascination for adults as well as children. Do your children or grandchildren a favor and expose them to this timeless tale that is so perfect at Christmas
Jan 24, 2008
Hoffmann knew what he was doing when he wrote The Nutcracker. It's a magical story full of beautiful and frightening characters. But the real magic of this book lies in the illustrations. They are gorgeous.
Publishers Weekly, 2004-09-27 Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman's fantasy about a warring seven-headed Rat King and Nutcracker, toys come to life and mesmerizing lands made of candy, retains its bite in a new picture-book abridgement with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger, retold by Susanne Koppe, trans. from the German by Anthea Bell. The gracefully composed watercolors in this new edition refrain from the frolic and whimsy she exhibited with the artwork for a 1979 edition of The Nutcracker, but possess dreamlike flair nonetheless. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-22 Another gifty edition of the E.T.A Hoffman story, The Nutcracker: The Heirloom Edition, illus. by Don Daily, features an oversize trim, unjacketed red cloth cover with gold foil accents and a ribbon page marker trimmed with a gold-tone nutcracker. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-22 Board-book originals include an adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffmann's The Nutcracker, illus. by Thea Kliros, which pares the holiday classic to a length suitable for toddlers. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2001-09-24 Julie Paschkis's eclectic illustrations accompany this adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker, which includes some darker tales that never made it into the dance and a CD of Tchaikovsky's musical score, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1999-09-27 Though many children are familiar with the Nutcracker ballet, Schulman's (The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury) more complete version of Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" will keep young readers on their toes. This vivid tale of intrigue, wicked curses and rodents hot on revenge satisfyingly reveals why the Mouse King and the Nutcracker were such bitter enemies. The text was originally published in 1979; kids and parents will like the way it's presented here, with a CD containing actress Claire Bloom's reading of the story and selections of Tchaikovsky's music, and with Graef's slightly dark, antique-flavored paintings, themselves spiced with 19th-century decorations, toys and sweets. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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