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Children's LiteratureBased on the National Ballet of Canada's production of "The Nutcracker" ballet, this story features a dreamlike Russian setting. This less-familiar version has a battle between the stuffed cats and dogs in Marie's toy cupboard and the stable boy, Peter, as the initiators of Marie and her brother Misha's trip to the realm of the Snow Queen. The sumptuous feast comes alive and dances, so that the children do not get to eat it and the whole production ends with flowers as a promise of spring to come before the children awake in their own beds. Kupesic's elegant oil paintings depict elongated characters in a fanciful setting designed with swirls and curls of icy branches and lush frosted puffs of snow on the landscape. It would be helpful for readers less familiar with this tale to have some author's note or provenance setting the story in relation to the more familiar E.T.A. Hoffman's version, but this version stands on its own as a story of dreams in the midst of harsh weather realities. 2005, Tundra Books, Ages 6 to 10.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.