The Nutcracker – illustrated by Valeria Docampo

 51a7wxwzrul   The Nutcracker – illustrated by Valeria Docampo; Little Simon (9781481458290), 2016.

Format: Hardcover

Genre: Picture book

Rating: 3.5

What did you like about the book? The text and illustrations in this version are based on the New York City Ballet’s production of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. As such, for those who know The Nutcracker story from the annual holiday performances, this retelling will be a more familiar than the original by E. T. A. Hoffman (The Nutcracker and the Mouse King).

The story tracks the performance faithfully from the dramatic arrival of Drosselmeier to the magical growing Christmas tree and the journey to the Land of Sweets, presided over by the sparkly Sugarplum Fairy. Hot cocoa, coffee and tea dance while candies frolic. The illustrations are quite evocative of the magic of this annual Christmas tradition.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The Holly Hobbie-esque illustrations left something to be desired. Not stylized enough to transcend reality, but not fleshed out enough to reflect it.

To whom would you recommend this book? / Who should buy this book? A great book to read in preparation for a viewing of the ballet and to savor afterwards to relive the memories.

Where would you shelve it? This could be shelved with general picture books, Christmas books or ballet books. Librarian’s choice.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Nancy Riemer Kellner, Peaslee Elementary School Library, Northborough,  MA

Date of review: 11/1/2016

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