Christmas is coming, and Madame Rosa has prepared a surprise party for her ballet class. "Ella Bella, would you fetch the music box?" asks Madame Rosa. "Then we can have some dancing at our party." As the music begins playing, little Ella Bella is magically transported into the enchanting, festive world of The Nutcracker ballet. There, she meets the beautiful Clara and her wooden Nutcracker doll. Together, Ella and Clara must fight off the evil Mouse King so they can break the evil spell that has transformed a ...
Christmas is coming, and Madame Rosa has prepared a surprise party for her ballet class. "Ella Bella, would you fetch the music box?" asks Madame Rosa. "Then we can have some dancing at our party." As the music begins playing, little Ella Bella is magically transported into the enchanting, festive world of The Nutcracker ballet. There, she meets the beautiful Clara and her wooden Nutcracker doll. Together, Ella and Clara must fight off the evil Mouse King so they can break the evil spell that has transformed a handsome prince into the Nutcracker doll. When the spell is broken and the prince comes to life, he leads Clara and Ella to a magic forest where they dance to the music of the famous Nutcracker ballet. On the last page of this beautifully illustrated story, young readers learn about the origins of The Nutcracker ballet, its music written in 1892 by the composer Piotr Tchaikovsky for Russia's famous Imperial Ballet.
PreS-Gr 3—Ella Bella is back for another ballet adventure, courtesy of Madame Rosa's magical music box. The students are enchanted by their teacher's story about The Nutcracker ballet. After class, she surprises them with a party. Ella Bella goes to fetch the music box and finds Clara sleeping under the Christmas tree. Off they go to Nutcracker land, where they battle the Mouse King, help save the kingdom, and enjoy the hospitality of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Ella Bella fans will find the format familiar, and young ballet enthusiasts will enjoy Mayhew's line illustrations in pink, blue, red, and green paints and pastels. The artist depicts a multicultural class, with a token boy included, to appeal to a wide audience, and his easy-to-read adaptation of this timeless Christmas story makes it accessible to another generation of readers. End matter includes a helpful one-page history of the ballet and its composer. Even collections that have other versions of The Nutcracker may want to add this one, especially where Ella Bella has a fan base.—Angela J. Reynolds, Annapolis Valley Regional Library, Bridgetown, NS, Canada
Sweet Ella Bella returns for her fourth appearance in a story based on a famous ballet, this time in a dreamlike interaction with the cast of TheNutcracker. As in Ella's previous dancing adventures, the story begins in Madame Rosa's ballet class in an old (possibly enchanted) theater, with the teacher introducing the music and plot of TheNutcracker. When the teacher and other students adjourn for a Christmas party, Ella creeps onto the stage of the theater, where she is magically swept into a performance of the ballet. She accompanies the characters of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as the ballet continues, visiting the Land of Sweets and watching the Sugar Plum Fairy's dance. When the music fades, Ella returns to reality and rejoins Madame Rosa for the party, where there is one sugar mouse treat left just for Ella. The ballet's plot is skillfully summarized, and the magical transitions unfold in a believable way. Delicate watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the exciting battle scene and create an ethereal atmosphere for the Land of Sweets with backgrounds of pink blossoms and candies. An author's note offers more information about the ballet. A lovely introduction for children preparing to see a performance of the classic holiday ballet. (Picture book. 3-6)
James Mayhew is an award-winning author and illustrator of many children's books, including the popular Ella Bella Ballerina series. His special love for opera and ballet is reflected in many of his stories and illustrations. He lives with his wife and son in Letchworth Garden City, England.