A retelling of Hoffman's classic by two-time Carnegie Medalist Berlie Doherty, dazzlingly illuminated by Ian Beck.
School Library JournalGr 2-4-E. T. A. Hoffmann's fantastical tale about a girl and a wooden nutcracker has been retold and reinvented countless times since it first appeared in 1816. This version, based on the 1891 Tchaikovsky ballet, is told from the viewpoint of an elderly Clara. The story unfolds very slowly and rather unevenly, with a number of pages at the beginning devoted to the children waiting for Godfather Drosselmeyer to arrive, and only one page near the end mentioning the celebration in the Kingdom of Sweets. Doherty also makes some distracting word choices-describing the Sugar Plum Fairy's dress as "spiky" for example. Beck's delicate watercolor-and-ink illustrations and borders invite second and third looks with their wealth of detail. However, Geraldine McCaughrean's retelling of the ballet story (Oxford, 1999) or Sarah L. Thomson's version combining the original and the ballet, illustrated by Michael Hague (SeaStar, 2003), are better choices.-M. A. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThe midnight-blue cover of this lovely interpretation draws the reader into the story with a snowy scene of Clara holding the toy Nutcracker aloft, as the Sugar Plum Fairy unfolds a bright-pink banner announcing the title. A starry curtain is drawn back to one side to suggest the theatrical connections of Hoffman's beloved story, retold here in lyrical fashion by Carnegie Medalist Doherty. The grownup Clara's first-person reminiscences allow for greater exploration of her feelings and her impressions of her fantastic journey to the kingdom of sweets. Beck's watercolor-and-ink illustrations capture the magical nature of the story. The large size of the volume showcases the many full- and double-page illustrations, often augmented with spot art and decorated borders surrounding the text. This beautifully designed work closely parallels the story used in most ballet productions and will serve as an excellent preparation for children before seeing a holiday ballet performance. (Picture book. 5-9)
- Transworld Publishers Limited
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 10.00(w) x 11.50(h) x 0.15(d)
- Age Range:
- 7 - 9 Years
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