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Monday, December 3, 2012

"The Nutcracker" w/pictures by Maurice Sendak~Gorgeous Book!

"A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children's books of the year."
New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann's wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak's art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann's story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

After hearing how her toy nutcracker got his ugly face, a little girl helps break the spell and watches him change into a handsome prince.


Published by:   Crown Publishing Group
Pages:  128
Genre:  Fiction/Children's/Art
Find the book here:  Barnes & Noble


Maurice Sendak received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are. In 1970 he received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration, and he remains the only American ever awarded this honor. In 1983, Sendak received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, given in recognition of his entire body of work. He also received a 1996 National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution of arts in America.
Ralph Manheim, translator of Grimm's Fairy Tales and many other works, was a renowned German-language translator.


I simply cannot say enough good things about this gorgeous book!  From the moment I held it in my hands and saw the cover, I was enchanted.  Maurice Sendak makes any childhood dream come true, and makes our wildest imaginations come alive. His amazing drawings/paintings of "The Nutcracker" are made for children and adults alike.  Just beautiful.  This is a keepsake book.

The illustrations are remarkable.  The Mouse King is horrific!  Clara is the every-girl next door caught between childhood and growing up--reminding me of Wendy's style in "Peter Pan," and the Nutcracker is a force to be reckoned with.  Beautiful dolls and princesses are dancing dreams.  I love the nearly pastel shades Mr. Sendak has used to render all of them, and the wonderful scale of his pictures bringing them to life.

The telling of the story that finally comes through from E.T.A. Hoffmann's original is done very well.  Some of the tale was new to me, and I wondered at all the "artistic license" taken with the familiar Tchaikovsky ballet version. 

This book presents a magnificent and detailed account.  The only problem with it being written for children is that it will likely not be understood or tolerated in one sitting for young children.  This is a book more for young adult to adult appetites, I think.  Children will enjoy it in parts, and perhaps over time as they mature, I suspect.

When my children were growing up we went to the theatre every year to see "The Nutcracker Suite" in Boston.  They seemed to love the production and never to tire of it.  I know my grandchildren will love this book for a Christmas treat and tradition to go along with the one we started.  I have a feeling my grown children will, too!

5 brilliant stars!!!               Deborah/TheBookishDame



I thought this book was gorgeous as well.

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