The Nutcracker

Overview

Adventure, fantasy, romance ... a world full of toys and sweets ... and, of course, Christmas-these are the hallmarks of this timeless story, brought theatrically to life by one of America's favorite illustrators. It is the unforgettable dream of a peculiar Christmas gift-a nutcracker that leads a young girl into a magical realm, where she boldly helps save a boy living under an evil curse. This elegant retelling combines E. T. A. Hoffman's original version with beloved elements of the ballet in a readable ...
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Overview

Adventure, fantasy, romance ... a world full of toys and sweets ... and, of course, Christmas-these are the hallmarks of this timeless story, brought theatrically to life by one of America's favorite illustrators. It is the unforgettable dream of a peculiar Christmas gift-a nutcracker that leads a young girl into a magical realm, where she boldly helps save a boy living under an evil curse. This elegant retelling combines E. T. A. Hoffman's original version with beloved elements of the ballet in a readable picture book format. Michael Hague, celebrated for his lavish interpretations of classics, now makes this tale accessible to a new generation. From the sweeping drama of the battle scene to the magnificent illusions of rich, draped fabrics, every detail will be cherished.

Author Biography: Michael Hague has illustrated more than twenty children's classics. He is also known for his best-selling books featuring bears, as well as for his pictures for William Bennett's The Children 's Book of Virtues. His most recent book for SeaStar was Good Night, Fairies, written by his wife, Kathleen. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

In this adaptation of the original 1816 German story, with elements from the ballet, Godfather Drosselmeier gives young Marie a nutcracker for Christmas, and she finds herself in a magical realm where she saves a boy from an evil curse.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without gift books, and a variety of impressive-looking new treatments of family classics aims to fill that niche. Michael Hague's many fans will embrace his copiously illustrated version of The Nutcracker, based both on the E.T.A. Hoffman story and on the famous ballet. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The Seven-Headed Rat King is back! For this volume, author Hague draws from Hoffmann's original 1816 version (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King), Dumas' 1844 rewrite (The Nutcracker of Nuremburg), and the 1891 Russian ballet (The Nutcracker). In this version, Godfather Drosselmeier entertains Marie and Fritz with the story of Princess Pirlipat who is cursed by the Rat Queen. After 14 years, a watchmaker figured out how to break Pirlipat's curse. However, at that time, the watchmaker's young nephew became cursed with an oversized head, eyes, and mouth. Godfather Drosselmeier is interrupted in his storytelling as the Christmas celebration begins. Marie's gift from her Godfather is a handsome Nutcracker. When Marie visits her new Nutcracker after everyone is in bed, one hundred rats run into the room. A battle ensues between the Seven-Headed Rat King and his followers and the Nutcracker's toy army. Marie saves the Nutcracker's life and the Nutcracker kills the Rat King. The Nutcracker takes Marie to The Land of Toys. Marie is awakened from this dream by her mother, who reminds her that Godfather Drosselmeier is coming for a visit that morning. While waiting, Marie declares her undying love for the valiant Nutcracker. Godfather Drosselmeier brings his nephew, Frederick, who is dressed just as the Nutcracker had been. Many years later, Marie and Frederick marry—and it is rumored that they rule The Land of Toys to this day. Richly-colored illustrations add to the charm and enchantment of this holiday tale. 2003, Sea Star Books, Ages 6 to 8.
—Chris Gill
Kirkus Reviews
A jolly nutcracker with his mouth wide open waves his sword and flag and seems ready to ride right off the cover in Hague's version of this Christmas classic. This retelling uses the structure of the original story by Hoffman, retaining the name of Marie for the little girl, and adds some of the familiar elements from the ballet version of the story. Hague's illustrations in pen and ink, watercolor, and colored pencil set a dark and theatrical mood with deep jewel tones and rich velvet draperies framing several spreads. His Rat King is a fearsome fellow with seven heads and 14 glowing red eyes, but his sweet Sugar Plum Fairy dances with butterfly wings ornamenting her flower-petal costume. This retelling is too long for most preschoolers, but will serve as an introduction to the story or preparation before a performance for school-age children. An author's note includes the history of the story and how it came to be a ballet. (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781437963779
  • Publisher: DIANE Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 11/1/2008
  • Pages: 50
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Hague has illustrated more than twenty children's classics. He is also the artist for several popular books written by his wife, Kathleen. He lives in Colorado.
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