Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Mary Christmas

Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker 
by...who else?... Mary Engelbreit

I've read a few versions of The Nutcracker in my 10 years of motherhood...and especially in my 8 years of mothering girls.  Most version I find too wordy and many make Drosselmeier too sinister and creepy for my liking.  My long-time favorite version is The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers, but both copies were already  checked out at the library this year so I stumbled on another. 

I plopped down in the kitchen floor with Maddie and Alaine after dinner one night, intending to breeze through it before bath time.  Maddie and I had plans to see a live performance of the ballet the following week so I wanted to refresh her memory, but I didn't have plans to linger. However, from page 1, both of my girls were hooked. 

The illustrations were bright and cheerful, Drosselmeier was a pleasant-looking toymaker, and the story was well-told.  I often find that children lose interest as the story turns from the opening party scene and moves into the Land of Sweets, but not this time! I was most surprised by Alaine, age 2, who sat mesmerized in my lap through the entire reading of the book, and when I finished, asked to read it again right away.  Both times (and other times since then), she has lingered over the page of dancers from other kingdoms and chosen the girl she likes best (the Russian girl) 

Would your boys like this book?  Probably not, though everyone can benefit from the beautiful summary of this classic Tchaikovsky ballet. Girls, on the other hand, will want to feast on this book.


Do you have a book or two to add to the growing Christmas list?  If you do, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. 

1 comment:

  1. We read this version the other night and really enjoyed it. We'd seen the ballet the week after Thanksgiving, so it was fun for the kids to hear the story. J even liked it; I think, in part, it was because he'd recently seen the performance.


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