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Adults preparing children for a performance of this popular holiday ballet often find themselves seeking a simplified adaptation of the story. This retelling, which is based on the Balanchine version of the ballet, is intended to be short enough to read through at one sitting, but the text is still too long and a little too complex for most younger children. Jay's delicate oil paintings are done with her signature folk-art–style crackled overglaze. The characters, especially young Clara, seem more like old-fashioned dolls posed in scenes than real people or even real dancers performing a ballet. The muted colors, period costumes and large scenes filled with tiny dancers, while attractive, create an unfortunate distancing effect. Still doesn't fit the bill for ballet prep—Susan Jeffers's Nutcracker (2007) is the gold standard for this purpose. (Picture book. 5-9)
Posted January 9, 2012
The illustrations were excellent! Perfect for my children who had just seen the ballet and loved it. it helped them understand the ballet better. They are now 3(girl) and 6(boy), that wonderful imaginative age:) Certainly recommended as a book to pass on from generation to generation, just as the story is.
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Posted December 14, 2011