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*The Nutcracker* by Sarah L. Thompson, illustrated by Michael Hague - young readers book review





 
The Nutcracker
by Sarah L. Thompson, illustrated by Michael Hague
ages 5-10 56 pages Chronicle Books November 2005 Hardcover    

On Christmas Eve, Marie and her brother Fritz sit waiting for their parents to prepare their family celebration. They are visited by their godfather, who tells them a story about a princess put under a spell by rats. The childrenís Christmas is spectacular - Fritz receives some toy soldiers from their godfather, and Marie receives a funny-looking nutcracker. The nutcracker is accidentally broken and placed in the toy cupboard for the night. Marie feels sorry for him, and after everyone is asleep, she goes down to visit. He magically comes alive and Marie is swept into a world filled with evil rats, living toys, and a beautiful world of fairies and candy. When she wakes up, Marie is surprised to find her nutcracker has disappeared.

Michael Hagueís intricate illustrations bring this familiar story to life. Although itís recommended for children as young as four, the storyline is a little complicated and some of the situations, especially involving the seven-headed rat king, are quite scary. My five-year-old daughter was entranced, however, and the story makes a perfect lead-in for the traditional ballet performance of The Nutcracker during the holiday season. The only drawback is the small size of the book. It doesnít give the illustrations justice as itís difficult to see the fine detail on small pages.

For an introduction to this classic story first written in 1816 or for timeless review, this version of The Nutcracker is beautiful and would make a perfect small gift for both children and adults.
   
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  Melissa Parcel/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  






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