Sunday, November 11, 2012


Usually it takes me a while to choose a book to review.  I see a couple that look interesting, and I read the descriptions, then go back and read them again, finally making my choice after several minutes of consideration.  But when I saw that Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann, illustrated by Maurice Sendak was available to review, I didn't hesitate: I immediately clicked, "send me this book."

I was so excited for this book to arrive.  Our family has a tradition of using books to count down to Christmas, reading one each day in December.  I figured this would be the perfect addition to our collection.
I was not anticipating the length of the book, however.  I figured it was a picture book, the story of the Nutcracker, greatly abreviated, meant for reading aloud to children in one sitting.  It is, however, the entire text of E.T.A. Hoffmann's fairy tale, "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," translated by Ralph Manheim and illustrated by Maurice Sendak.  I say this by way of letting you know that after I saw it, I was expecting to not like the book.  But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself charmed by this lovely volume.
The story is engaging for all ages and masterfully translated from the original German text.  Fans of Maurice Sendak (Where the Wild Things Are) will recognize his distinctive style in the beautiful illustrations.  I read the book aloud to my 5 year old son, a chapter or two at a time over the course of a week or two, and he stayed engaged in the story the entire time, even asking for more when each chapter was done.
Nutcracker was definitely not what I was expecting, but I loved it, and this delightful edition will make a lovely family keepsake, and perhaps a new family tradition.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review.
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