The Nutcracker: The Classic Christmas Fantasy (Barnes & Noble Edition)

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Overview

Read the full story of the gallant Nutcracker Prince, and revel in the magic of a delightful Christmas tradition.

The Nutcracker: The Classic Christmas Fantasy features two rare versions of the holiday tale that was adapted for Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, The Nutcracker. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original fairy tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” published in 1816 and Alexandre Dumas’s interpretation, “The History of a Nutcracker,” published ...

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Overview

Read the full story of the gallant Nutcracker Prince, and revel in the magic of a delightful Christmas tradition.

The Nutcracker: The Classic Christmas Fantasy features two rare versions of the holiday tale that was adapted for Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, The Nutcracker. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original fairy tale, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” published in 1816 and Alexandre Dumas’s interpretation, “The History of a Nutcracker,” published in 1845.

Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of vintage drawings from the nineteenth century, this beautifully designed book kindles the spirit of the holidays through its timeless tale of an enchanted nutcracker made human through the love of a young girl, and the couple’s magical journey through exotic lands of sweets and spices.

The set also contains a decorative 8-inch nutcracker figurine!

After hearing how her toy nutcracker got his ugly face, a little girl helps break the spell and watches him change into a handsome prince.\

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Though many children are familiar with the Nutcracker ballet, Schulman's (The 20th Century Children's Book Treasury) more complete version of Hoffman's "The Nutcracker and the King of Mice" will keep young readers on their toes. This vivid tale of intrigue, wicked curses and rodents hot on revenge satisfyingly reveals why the Mouse King and the Nutcracker were such bitter enemies. The text was originally published in 1979; kids and parents will like the way it's presented here, with a CD containing actress Claire Bloom's reading of the story and selections of Tchaikovsky's music, and with Graef's slightly dark, antique-flavored paintings, themselves spiced with 19th-century decorations, toys and sweets. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.\
Publishers Weekly
Julie Paschkis's eclectic illustrations accompany this adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman's The Nutcracker, which includes some darker tales that never made it into the dance and a CD of Tchaikovsky's musical score, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.\
Publishers Weekly
Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman's fantasy about a warring seven-headed Rat King and Nutcracker, toys come to life and mesmerizing lands made of candy, retains its bite in a new picture-book abridgement with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger, retold by Susanne Koppe, trans. from the German by Anthea Bell. The gracefully composed watercolors in this new edition refrain from the frolic and whimsy she exhibited with the artwork for a 1979 edition of The Nutcracker, but possess dreamlike flair nonetheless. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.\
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
When exhausted parents collapse on Christmas Eve as their energetic children shout for more action, take out a copy of The Nutcracker. Put on the CD that accompanies the book so that the kiddies can hear the story read by Claire Bloom and listen to the background Tchaikovsky music. If the children are old enough, they can read along with Ms. Bloom and enjoy the illustrations of Renee Graef. This is a most pleasant diversion.\
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
An abbreviated version of this holiday story is retold here in rebus form. Kids are invited to place the stickers in their proper places within the text. Even if the stickers are lost (2 sets are included), the story can still be read since there is a blue outline drawing of each object. Each page also contains a list of the words that are represented by the stickers.\
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
At Christmas time, the familiar music of Tchaikovsky from his ballet version of The Nutcracker fills the airwaves and theaters. This "Eyewitness Classic" presents the story accompanied by illustrations that depict scenes and reproductions of artifacts, people and places appropriate to the story and its setting. Introductory pages offer a glimpse of Christmas in Germany during the early 19th century and the types of toys children would play with, while the closing pages mention the ballet and reveal a bit about Hoffmann. There is plenty to look at and kids may enjoy looking at the pictures and reading the captions before launching into the story. The story itself is engaging and filled with action. It also has a positive message, although the happily ever after ending--Marie's marriage to the King who had been enchanted and turned into an ugly nutcracker--may not be as appealing to modern tastes. However, the bravery and kindness of Marie more than make up for the fairy tale ending. 1999, DK Publishing, Ages 8 up, $14.95. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot\
Children's Literature
Susanne Koppe's shortened version of this 1812 story, translated by Anthea Bell, accompany Zwerger's second artistic treatment to make a new package worthy of the story and of the season. No sugary sweetness here, Zwerger's illustrations reflect the darker side of this romantic tale. They begin with the blues and browns of the nighttime setting, then the sepia tones of the embedded "Tale of the Hard Nut," finally lightening when Marie journeys to a make-believe land up a winding staircase that descends from father's overcoat sleeve. Zwerger is a master portrayer of the mysterious, making dramatic use of viewpoint, muted color, and spare backgrounds, against which the actions seem full of foreboding. This heightens the contrast when Marie finally arrives in the green forests studded with oranges and the Marzipan Castle. The Nutcracker soldier's battle with the Mouse King is dispensed with in a few words but the endpapers make up the difference with swirling legions of mice surrounding the valiant soldier. The Hoffman/Koppe/Bell text reads well even if unindented paragraphs and a less generous use of white space give it a crowded look. Since few dignified, or serious, versions of this story are available, this one takes on extra and well deserved weight and will satisfy older readers who wish to know more about the story and a bit less about the ballet. 2004 (orig. 2003), Michael Neugebauer/North-South Books, Ages 8 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.\
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-After illustrating The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King (Picture Book Studio, 1983; o.p.), Zwerger has taken on the challenge of creating a completely different set of images almost a quarter century later. She has succeeded admirably. This version features somewhat surreal, almost theatrically presented tableaux, delicately and darkly rendered in pen and ink and watercolor. Readers are far removed from the action-sometimes back in the nosebleed section, as opposed to the earlier edition, in which readers were right in the middle of everything. The 2004 Marie is a china doll of a girl, unlike the more realistically presented character of the past. This would be a hard version to share with a group, though Koppe's retelling is more accessible and detailed than the earlier title. This Nutcracker dramatically illustrates the growth and evolution of an important illustrator.-M. A. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Gr 3-7 An elegantly produced book which most libraries will not need. The Nutcracker story is not appealing or co herent enough to interest most children today. It would probably be forgotten altogether if it were not for the ballet whose story is drawn from, but not the same as, Hoffmann's tale. While Ma rie's encounters with the seven-headed mouse king, her love for the Nutcrack er, and Drosselmeier's tale of the un grateful Princess Pirlipat might interest many readers, the trip through Toyland is cloying and boring. The ending, in which Marie (still a little girl) marries Drosselmeier's nephew and goes to live in Toyland is both excessively romantic and unbelievable even within the con ventions of fantasy. Throughout the story hints of the dark nature of Dros selmeier are given but never explained. Libraries with a need for a good transla tion of The Nutcracker will find that this is comparable to Ralph Manheim's version (Crown, 1984), illustrated by Maurice Sendak, and more complete than Anthea Bell's version (Picture Book Studio, 1987), illustrated by Liz beth Zwerger. Goodrich's illustrations are outstanding. His rich earth-toned paintings have a hazy, dreamlike quali ty which enhances the fantasy. Fritz and Marie are angelic and doll-like, while Drosselmeier is truly menacing. The Nutcracker manages to seem both wooden and expressive at the same time. The design and format of the book are also excellent. Unfortunately the story is not worthy of them. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, N.J.\
Kirkus Reviews
According to the introduction, the beloved Yuletide ballet that we see was based on a gentler version of the tale by Alexandre Dumas pere. This version, which differs from the ballet in several ways, is based on Hoffmann's 1816 original and tells a richer tale. Clara and Fritz are delighted with the Christmas gifts of their godfather Drosselmeier, especially the Nutcracker, which Clara cares for even after Fritz breaks its jaw. Clara encounters the Mouse King and his minions not once but twice in dreamlike sequences, and in between, she hears Drosselmeier's stories of "the Hard Nut" and "Why the Nutcracker Is So Ugly." Those intensify her resolve and add layers to the story. The gouache illustrations have a beautiful folktale dreaminess-echoes of Chagall here-as Paschkis borders center images with horror vacui designs in single bright colors. The figures are angular and exaggerated but wonderfully detailed. Paschkis plays with repetitive motifs and silhouetted patterns: Clara's long braid regularly whips out of the picture plane. The accompanying CD by the London Symphony Orchestra contains excerpts from Tchaikovsky's score. Unfortunately, there is no credit given for either the introduction or the retelling itself. (Picture book/folktale. 7-10)\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781435117136
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 9/11/2009
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 9.86 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 2.38 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Christmas Eve 1
The Presents 6
Marie's Favorite 11
Strange Happenings 15
The Battle 27
Marie's Illness 34
The Story of the Hard Nut 41
The Story of the Hard Nut, Continued 47
The Story of the Hard Nut, Concluded 52
Uncle and Nephew 60
Victory 63
The Land of Dolls 71
The Capital 76
Conclusion 95
Acknowledgments 102
\
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Nutcracker

    This set contains two different versions of the Nutcracker in one book. It also has a small replica of one of the original nutcrackers. The Nutcracker is dated and makes a perfect decoration over the holiday seasons.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 6, 2010

    Great marketing...

    Nice idea - pairing an actual nutcracker with the classic of the same name. However while wrapping presents on Christmas eve, I had to stop and glue his head back on. It is fortunate that I chose to open and inspect it. The special edition of the book was quite nice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 9, 2010

    The Nutcracker Explained

    A few years ago BN put out a small book and a Nutcracker ornament and this one is a great add to a collection.

    It is interesting to read these two stories and try to equate them with the traditional, much-loved ballet and music that surrounds Christmas. The stories are boring reads but must surely have put many children to sleep over the years. I guess they are not 'boring' so much as written in old styles that are not common any more.

    Overall, interesting with a great ornament.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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