Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review: The Nutcracker


I love reviewing children's books.  Having read several Nutcracker books and having attended the ballet a couple of times, I was interested to see how this book would be different.  It didn't disappoint in that respect.  There were several features that made The Nutcracker stand out.

The Illustrations:  This book is very generous with illustrations.  Especially full color, two-page spreads.  Many Nutcracker books are lavishly illustrated in a princess like, fairy tale style.  They are, well, girly.   These illustrations are different.  If you're familiar with Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are and Little Bear books), you will recognize his talent.  The illustrations are detailed and a little quirky.  I think they will appeal to boys in a way that the usual Nutcrackers illustrations perhaps do not.

The Book:  This hardcover book comes with a nicely illustrated dust jacket (which I promptly removed because I dislike dust jackets).  The book itself feels like quality.  The book is navy blue with a silver embossed title on the front cover that is surrounded by a scrolled border.  The binding is sewn, not glued.  This is important because a well used children's book with a glued binding will eventually fall apart.  The pages are thick with a matte, not glossy finish.  The book is over 100 pages and separated into fourteen chapters.  

The Story:  This book contains the usual Nutcracker story.  However, in the middle of the book is a tale within a tale that you've probably not heard before - The Story of the Hard Nut.  Apparently, in simplifying the story to create a ballet, this tale had long ago been eliminated and in the author's research has been unearthed.  (The full story is in the Introduction.)

This is a nice book.  It retails at $24.99 which is a little pricey, I think, if you were to pay full price.  (Does anyone do that anymore?)  Keep this book in mind as you start your Christmas shopping!

I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review.

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