Friday, December 16, 2016



The New York City Ballet presents a classic ballet tale for a modern ballet lover with George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, a holiday favorite.

The New York City Ballet is known for showcasing classic stories of the ballet with their trademark stylish and modern sensibility. For the first time, this beloved holiday story is told based on George Balanchine’s quintessential production. The storyline of this gorgeous picture book mimics the choreography of the famous ballet and the illustrations are inspired by the backdrops and scenery from the actual production.

The New York City Ballet’s production of the Nutcracker is considered to be “the” leading production in the world. A holiday tradition for many families, now readers who can’t travel to New York will be able to experience this colorful celebratory story. A must-have for every aspiring ballerina’s library and a holiday tradition for every family’s bookshelf.


It's been a long time since I've seen the Nutcracker ballet, so it was fun to read this picture book based on that ballet.  I was a bit surprised that the main character's name was Marie and not Clara, but the story remained pretty much how I remembered it.  The broken Nutcracker coming to life to fight the Mouse King, and the trip to The Land of Sweets, and all the beautiful dancing that is so much a part of the story.  Being based on the ballet, the illustrator chose to create illustrations that reflect that, so all of the characters look like dancers and are in dance positions throughout the story.  The illustrations are elegant and sweet, perfect for sharing with younger children, especially since Marie and her Prince are fairly young in the story.  The fun facts at the end of the story as well as the background on the creation of the ballet was informative and interesting to me.  A fun version of the story that would work well with younger readers who are in to dancing.  In fact it would be fun to stop and act out some of the dancing sequences.


An exquisite gift edition of The Nutcracker captures the spirit of the Christmas ballet in elegant illustrations—and delivers a glorious pop-up finale.

The Nutcracker is one of the world’s most popular ballets, telling the captivating story of Clara and the Nutcracker prince as they journey into a land of fantasy. Inspired by Marius Petipa’s sets for the original production of the ballet, Niroot Puttapipat’s delicate silhouette illustrations dance across pale, watercolor-washed backgrounds in a unique interpretation. Starkly beautiful, this keepsake edition evokes all the magic and anticipation of Christmas Eve as Clara and the prince waltz between worlds—and culminates in a 3-D spread bringing the dreamlike Land of Sweets to life.


I was expected this version of the Nutcracker to be more like the ballet, which I am more familiar with.  But this version is quite different.  This book is based on the original ballet produced by Marius Petipa.  I wasn't familiar with this version when I picked up the book.    But the book is beautifully put together.  While the text is longer than most picture books, or at least it feels that way because the book has fewer pages than most picture books (to make room for the pop-up at the end).  The shadow illustrations are gorgeous and highly detailed. The pop-up dance scene at the end is impressive. In this version, Clara helps save the nutcracker prince from the Mouse King and as a reward, he takes her to his home, the Land of Sweets where she dances away the night.  When she returns home she meets Dr. Drosselmeyer's nephew who is "handsome enough to be a prince."  For those interested in a version of the story closer to the original, I can highly recommend this one.

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