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By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: November 8, 2009

NutcrackerandtheMouse King_bookcover-1

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

by E.T.A. Hoffmann (Author), Gail De Marcken (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-9

Hardcover: 56 pages

Publisher: Orchard Books (September 1, 2009)

What to expect: Fairy tale, nutcracker, holiday

Gail De Marcken’s brilliant water color illustrations fill the large pages and border the classic and original text of E.T. A. Hoffman (1816). Using ink, De Macrken has added distinguished detail to her alluring images; from the expressions on the faces of dolls to the scenery from Marie’s dreams, emotion and magic is certainly apparent and very effective. If you’re planning to head to the ballet this season, this version would be wonderful to read beforehand; there is even a brief introduction at the beginning of the book that lets readers know how the Tchaikovsky ballet came about. However, the story is longer than most traditional picture books, so be sure to have a bookmark handy.