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The Nutcracker Hardcover – September 25, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 146 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Skillfully retold with just a few lines of text per page...an excellent introduction to the ballet for younger children.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Jeffers’ lush watercolors...will wholly satisfy families...this treatment will earn curtain calls galore.” (ALA Booklist)

“Energetic and child-friendly...Jeffers’s soft watercolors...capture both the drama of the classic story and the elegance of choreography.” (Publishers Weekly)

“{Jeffers’s] romantic, detail-rich illustrations are based on the Balanchine ballet...Jeffers offers a satisfying extension” (The Horn Book)

From the Back Cover

New York Times bestselling artist Susan Jeffers has created a Nutcracker unlike any that has gone before, with a lovely spare text based on the ballet.

This is the perfect gift to share with children before they see The Nutcracker. Everyone who has seen the ballet will cherish it—as will anyone who enjoys stories where love triumphs.

Come, take a front-row seat. The world's most beloved holiday fairy tale is about to begin.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (September 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060743867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060743864
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9.8 x 11.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Lerner on November 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This exquisite new version of the Nutcracker is sure to become an instant classic. The story has been simplified so that it is accessible to a younger audience and it follows the ballet rather than the more complex fairy tale. Jeffers' drawings are so evocative that you can almost hear the music as you turn the pages of the book. Every little girl who sees the ballet and dreams of meeting the sugar plum fairy will want this book to help her remember and relive those delicious memories over and over again. And everyone who has yet to see The Nutcracker will be inspired to do so.
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Format: Hardcover
I had recently bought tickets for my 5 year old son and me to attend our town's local "Nutcracker" performance, and thought that it would be even more enjoyable for him if he knew the story-line. So, I ventured into my local bookstore to search amongst the various "Nutcracker" books. Maurice Sendak's illustrated version had always been a favorite of mine growing up, but I knew that it would be a bit too long and complicated for my objective. Finally, I discovered Susan Jeffers' book, and was immediately struck by the gorgeous illustration of Marie (Clara) holding her beloved Nutcracker on the cover. As I opened the book and turned the pages, I knew I had found "the one." The story is simple and well-written, with no more than a paragraph per page (or two). It also follows the "Nutcracker" ballet adventure, which is perfect for little ones who have seen or will see it performed on stage. Above all, the illustrations are purely breathtaking! It is a pleasure to view each page! My son and I saw the ballet yesterday, and I truly feel that he was more engaged because he was familiar with this wonderful tale! Not to mention, Susan Jeffers' "Nutcracker" has been our favorite read for the past several nights! I definitely recommend this book if you have children ages 3-12, and especially if you will be attending the ballet!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best "Nutcracker" books on the market. The illustrations are lovely and sweet. The story has been shortened for easier reading, but the author kept all of the important aspects. I'm giving it to my 8 year old daughter for Christmas...what a treat!
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book for my then 18 month old daughter last Christmas (because I love ballet and hope she will too). This turned out to be the best purchase I have ever made for her. The book accurately follows the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. The text is just short enough to keep a little ones attention and long enough to tell the whole story. The pictures are beautifully detailed and allow the reader to see something new with each reading, something that little children love. The pictures are definitely not gory or gruesome (the toy soldiers cannons are shooting candy!), nor is the text describing the action. There is really only one two-page spread that shows the battle with actual "fighting" (which is only two mice each running off with a toy soldier and the candy are being fired from the cannon). The next spread is prodimately Marie throwing her slipper at the mouse king (my daughter's favorite picture). The next picture shows the mice dragging their dead or injured (the text doesn't say and the picture isn't obvious) king under the tree as Marie grabs the nutcracker-turned-prince's hands.

The only negative thing about the book, for me, is that the dance of the sweets are all lumped together on one spread. As I was reading it I became excited to see what the pictures of the sweets would look like, but was disappointed to see that they were all together and in the distance, so there was little detailed. I had high hopes, so I was disappointed, but it doesn't take away from the overall book. And my daughter loved this book from the first read through and still does. As a result of her absolute love for this book, I purchased the DVD of the New York City Ballet's performance of it, which she also loves.

This is a wonderful book on its own, but it would be a particularly terrific introduction to ballet in general or just the Nutcracker. I highly recommend it!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful children's recounting of the Nutcracker Ballet. The pictures are wonderfully engaging for children, and the text is succinct enough to be read as a picture book. It is much better than the wordy versions I have seen previously, or those versions that use photographs of the real ballet. The drawings seem to be much more accessible for children than photos. I found Jeffer's version to be fairly representative of the ballet itself. I disagree with those who say that the battle with the mice was too scary - if your kids think the book is scary, they will DEFINITELY think the ballet is scary. And it's not fair to penalize the author for including the 7 headed mouse king - since this is an accurate reflection of most versions of the play. I can appreciate why one reviewer wished there were more scenes of the Land of Treats - however frankly, my kids always felt that was "the boring half" of the Nutrcracker, and I can understand why Jeffers abridged that portion of the story. Personally, my daughter loves this book and it is short enough that it can be comfortably read start to finish at bed time. My only caution is that Jeffers calls the main female character Marie. My kids were more accustomed to the name Clara for the lead girl, so I had to constantly substitute Clara for Marie throughout the whole text.
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