From School Library Journal
Grade 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.
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“This beautifully designed work will serve as an excellent preparation for children before seeing a holiday ballet performance. ” -- Kirkus Reviews