From the Publisher
Ocean travels, swordfights and stinky cheese all play a part in a version of the Yuletide favorite likely to appeal to boys who might doze at the ballet.
[an] amusing fantasy that blends old and new traditions..
Based on Covert and Mills's musical of the same name, when Fritz breaks his sister Clara's nutcracker, his parents take away Mouse Hunter 5000, his beloved video game. Finding the key to the toy closet, he plays anyway, but then the vengeful Mouse King materializes, wanting to ruin Christmas. Fritz is joined by a tiny but formidable Nutcracker girl; they sail to Toy Town, a magical world of living toys, for a showdown with the Mouse King. The sequential panels and text bubbles incorporated into Swain's kinetic visuals complement the clever concept. A CD with a read-aloud and songs from the musical is included. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
The author has provided an interesting twist to the Nutcracker tale based on the musical A Nutty Nutcracker Christmas. A CD of the songs from the musical and a read-aloud track with the music and story woven together is provided. The illustrations are as alive as if you were watching a live rendition of the dance of the Nutcracker. The activity of the characters is quite modern. A video game is involved and the characters come to life jus as it happened in the traditional version of the Nutcracker. The main characters include Fritz, Mr. Drosselmeier, a neighbor, the wacky Mouse King, the Nutcracker and the Mayor of Christmas Wood. Boy! What an adventure they have trying to prevent the wacky Mouse King from destroying Christmas. The Emerald City Theatre first produced the musical in Chicago. It is the author who reads the story on the CD. The two authors wrote all of the songs included in the musical. Reviewer: Leila Toledo
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4–This spin-off on the classic story is based on a musical play that is being staged in Chicago during the 2009 holiday season. The focus here is on Fritz, who accidentally releases the evil Mouse King from the video game where he had been trapped. With the help of the Nutcracker, a girl named Marie, he travels to Christmas Wood, a magical place where toys are readied for Christmas giving, and sends the Mouse King back to the video game where he belongs. An accompanying CD includes a track of the author reading the story to a musical background and five songs from the musical. Busy, heavily stylized acrylic, oil, and colored-pencil cartoons are appropriate to the text. This nutty tale may be delightful on stage, but it falls flat as a picture book.–Virginia Walter, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, CA
This long and confusing story is based on a children's musical, and the book comes with a CD with both songs from the musical and a read-along of the text. The plot combines elements of the ballet story with an invented video game starring an evil Mouse King. Fritz is left at home on Christmas Eve after he breaks his sister's toy Nutcracker. When the Mouse King comes out of the game to ruin Christmas, Fritz is joined by another character, a broken Nutcracker toy who turns into a girl, and together they battle the Mouse King in the Christmas Wood. Swain's illustrations often must use multiple panels to fit in all the complicated plot twists and turns. Here's hoping it works as a performance piece, because it sure doesn't make the grade as a book. (Picture book. 5-8)