Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker

( 2 )

Overview

It is the night before Christmas!

When Marie receives a handsome wooden Nutcracker from her dear uncle, she's thrilled. But under the richly decorated tree that night, something magical happens . . . and when her toy Nutcracker transforms into a handsome Prince, Marie is whisked off to Toyland for a winter adventure she'll never forget!

The Nutcracker is one of the world's favorite holiday stories, and Mary Engelbreit offers her vision of that ...

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Overview

It is the night before Christmas!

When Marie receives a handsome wooden Nutcracker from her dear uncle, she's thrilled. But under the richly decorated tree that night, something magical happens . . . and when her toy Nutcracker transforms into a handsome Prince, Marie is whisked off to Toyland for a winter adventure she'll never forget!

The Nutcracker is one of the world's favorite holiday stories, and Mary Engelbreit offers her vision of that joyful night, creating a picture book filled with movement and vibrant detail that even the youngest child will enjoy.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sweetness abounds in Engelbreit’s condensed version of this holiday tale, modeled on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s 1816 story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Featuring candy cane borders and an array of confections, the author’s signature vivid, pictures give the story a setting evocative of the 1920s. After the Nutcracker transforms into a prince, he escorts cherubic Marie to his kingdom, Toyland, where “the smell of Christmas and candy floated around them” and dancers “played reed flutes so sweetly, each note seemed to be made of sugar.” Engelbreit fans will devour this eagerly. All ages. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Engelbreit's popular character Ann Estelle, Queen of Holidays, has taken off her glasses and changed her eye color to play the part of Marie in E.T.A. Hoffman's Nutcracker, now a Christmas tradition; but in 1816, Nussknacker und Mausekonig, was a wondrous tale from Hoffman's fertile and sometimes sinister imagination. Set by Englebreit in the 1920s, the story offers her multiple opportunities to fill the pages with her trademark borders, adorable children, and liberally scattered details. Though the author has obviously consulted Hoffman's tale, she has pared it down and sweetened it, bringing in images from ballet versions as well, but leaving out some of the most enchanting, like the swirling snowflakes and the towering Christmas tree. Unfortunately, the ambiguous Drosselmeier has become a sweet old man who can do some clever tricks, while the fearsome Mouse King, with seven heads and seven crowns (based on a real, but horrible, phenomenon of rats born with tails entwined—you can see one in the Rat Museum in Hameln), has lost six of his heads. Konfiturenburg, Land of Sweets, has become Toyland with a nod to Hoffman's rather short descriptions and to dances from Tchaikovsky's ballet score, Lev Ivanov's choreography from 1892, and New York City Ballet's version by Balanchine. Colors are saturated, dominated by reds and greens; pages are cluttered, one might say littered, with ornaments, stars, candy, and peppermint stripes. It might be best, if you live near a city with an outstanding ballet company, to introduce children to the ballet first and wait till later to explore Hoffman's tale in Ralph Manheim's translation with brilliant pictures by Maurice Sendak. This saccharine, over-decorated version cannot do justice to a story touched with magic by the genius of Hoffman, Tchaikovsky, Ivanov, Balanchine, and Sendak. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—The retelling is faithful to Hoffmann's classic story, and the illustrations are in Engelbreit's familiar colorful, rounded, sentimental style. It is refreshing to see an African-American child cast as one of the dancers who serenades Marie and the prince. However, the romance between the Nutcracker-turned-prince and Marie, who appears to be about five years old, is a real stretch here. This version will appeal more to patrons looking for cute holiday books than to fans of the ballet.—Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies
Kirkus Reviews

Engelbreit extends her collection of traditional children's stories with this retelling of the Christmas classic, which blends well with the artist's signature style of highly ornamented illustrations bursting with bows, candies and fantasy flowers.

In this interpretation, Marie is a little girl of the 1920s, with blond bobbed hair and a cozy life in the suburbs with her well-to-do family. Wealthy Uncle Drosselmeyer, a kindly toymaker, arrives at the family Christmas party bearing toy soldiers for little brother Fritz and a pair of dolls and the fateful Nutcracker for Marie. The story unfolds in traditional fashion, with fierce battles between mice and soldiers, the Nutcracker's transformation and Marie's journey to Toyland with the Prince. They meet dancers and the Sugar Plum Fairy and view the Prince's gingerbread castle before returning to Marie's home. The budding romance between Marie and the Prince is a sweet foreshadowing of her adult life, and the conclusion shows them ruling over Toyland together. Each illustration is filled with details, borders and tiny hidden surprises, along with charming, smiling characters. Engelbreit's many fans will find this a garden of Christmas delights.

The Nutcrackerby Susan Jeffers (2007) remains the quintessential interpretation, but there is room on the Christmas bookshelves for the Engelbreit version as well.(Picture book. 4-7)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060885793
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/2011
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 347,193
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.20 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Engelbreit

Mary Engelbreit grew up studying the illustrations in the vintage storybooks of her mother's childhood, and she developed a unique style that harkens back to those simpler times. Mary's distinctive images have made her a celebrity to millions. Mary's designs can be found on gift items, calendars, books, fabrics, and more.

Mary Engelbreit grew up studying the illustrations in the vintage storybooks of her mother's childhood, and she developed a unique style that harkens back to those simpler times. Mary's distinctive images have made her a celebrity to millions. Mary's designs can be found on gift items, calendars, books, fabrics, and more.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 7, 2014

    *SWEET* telling of thee Fairy Tale

    I DID NOT THINK THIS was sickningly drippy sweet. Thee art was allmoste perfect. A sweetly luvly tale. The END WAS JUST AZ IT SHOULD BEE. Still this telling, too, should hav sum whut mor in the Prince's kingdem.

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  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Beautifully illustrated!

    The wonderful classic tale told and illustrated for younger children in Mary Engelbreit's illustrations. Very lovely!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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