Hot Best Seller

Nutcracker - Limited Edition

Availability: Ready to download

On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree— the Nutcracker. Readers of all ages will be enchanted by the stories-within-stories that are as intricate as the toys constructed by Godfather Drosselmeir for Fritz and Marie. Award-winning Roberto Innocentir's detailed illustrations are equally rich and complex, from the attack of the mouse army to Marie's journey through Candy Meadow, Christmas Forest, and Bonbonville. Never have the richness and pleasure of Christmas come so alive as in this new edition of Nutcracker—sure to become a treasured tradition shared between friends and family every holiday season.


Compare

On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree— the Nutcracker. Readers of all ages will be enchanted by the stories-within-stories that are as intricate as the toys constructed by Godfather Drosselmeir for Fritz and Marie. Award-winning Roberto Innocentir's detailed illustrations are equally rich and complex, from the attack of the mouse army to Marie's journey through Candy Meadow, Christmas Forest, and Bonbonville. Never have the richness and pleasure of Christmas come so alive as in this new edition of Nutcracker—sure to become a treasured tradition shared between friends and family every holiday season.

30 review for Nutcracker - Limited Edition

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Okay, I picked this book for a challenge here on Goodreads but now I want the whole set of these books. I'm loving these covers and they are too expensive right now. Maybe get one a month. I will also have to admit I have never seen the Nutcracker on tv. I might have seen bits of one when I was little. Yeah, I never thought I would be into the play, movies, whatever . . . but now I want to watch them. I will also admit that this book creeped me out in the beginning when they were describing the Okay, I picked this book for a challenge here on Goodreads but now I want the whole set of these books. I'm loving these covers and they are too expensive right now. Maybe get one a month. I will also have to admit I have never seen the Nutcracker on tv. I might have seen bits of one when I was little. Yeah, I never thought I would be into the play, movies, whatever . . . but now I want to watch them. I will also admit that this book creeped me out in the beginning when they were describing the sharp little teeth. Lol, I know I can make a horror movie out of anything. But . . . Seriously ↓ He comes to life for little Marie and then it just gets all kinds of cray. However, Marie could not finish. For when she pronounced Drosselmeier's name, Friend Nutcracker's face twisted up devilishly, and his eyes virtually emitted sparkling green prickles. But the moment Marie tried to get properly released, she was again viewed by the mournfully smiling face of honest Nutcracker. And now she knew that it was the draft and the quickly blazing ray of the lamp that had totally distorted his features. Pfffft. . . I'm going to have Nutcracker nightmares now! Sweet little book and I hope to own the whole collection with these little cardinals on them one day!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    Translations are, as a rule, pretty bad. I feel like this translation did not do the original story justice at all and a lot of the magic had seeped through the cracks as a result. The story itself has dark layers to it that the ballet does not possess. It has a rather disjointed flow to it and altogether it is a fairly obvious story of a time long ago (when attractiveness was the most important quality in any thing). However, the most important thing about this story is that it was the Translations are, as a rule, pretty bad. I feel like this translation did not do the original story justice at all and a lot of the magic had seeped through the cracks as a result. The story itself has dark layers to it that the ballet does not possess. It has a rather disjointed flow to it and altogether it is a fairly obvious story of a time long ago (when attractiveness was the most important quality in any thing). However, the most important thing about this story is that it was the inspiration for the ballet, and that makes it expressly priceless and worthy of more than five measly golden stars. The difference of the ballet to the story is utterly necessary, and makes the original story even more dear. Differences are what make adaptations, not their strict adherence to their founders. You can clearly follow the magical path, clearly feel the Christmas spirit and clearly find joy in the book, but from a personal point of view, only if you've seen the marvellous spectacle that is The Nutcracker ballet. [First read: 9th December, 2016. 3 stars. Second read: 19th December, 2017. 3 stars, 5 stars for the illustrated edition.] Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  3. 5 out of 5

    Merphy Napier

    2.5 I think this would be a thrilling and fun story for children and one that comes with some good opportunities for important discussions. That being said, the way the story was presented really didn't hold my attention well at all. It was okay the whole way through until the end. I found the way it turned out quite creepy and odd (view spoiler)[ turns out the nutcracker turns back into the guy he was before he was cursed and he proposes to our protagonist. Which... fine. But she's EIGHT. That's 2.5 I think this would be a thrilling and fun story for children and one that comes with some good opportunities for important discussions. That being said, the way the story was presented really didn't hold my attention well at all. It was okay the whole way through until the end. I found the way it turned out quite creepy and odd (view spoiler)[ turns out the nutcracker turns back into the guy he was before he was cursed and he proposes to our protagonist. Which... fine. But she's EIGHT. That's weird. Really weird. (hide spoiler)]

  4. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    Maurice Sendak did the illustrations for this edition. I love them. They are quirky and what you expect from Maurice. This is the full edition and it is night something you can read in a single bedtime story. This is long. This is also all about how things look. Is someone pretty or not. Marie sees the beauty on the inside over what is on the outside. The nutcracker ballet focuses more on the candyland part of the story and the beauty there. The book spends much of the story on war - heaven help Maurice Sendak did the illustrations for this edition. I love them. They are quirky and what you expect from Maurice. This is the full edition and it is night something you can read in a single bedtime story. This is long. This is also all about how things look. Is someone pretty or not. Marie sees the beauty on the inside over what is on the outside. The nutcracker ballet focuses more on the candyland part of the story and the beauty there. The book spends much of the story on war - heaven help us. I mean, it is a lot about fighting and war. This is so 1800. I think I prefer the ballet to the book and I did enjoy this. Having a shorter version you can read in a night is nice too. Still, I'm glad I finally read this whole thing. Merry Christmas.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”You’ll have to suffer a lot if you want to take charge of a poor, deformed Nutcracker. Only you can rescue him. Be strong and loyal.” Synopsis: E.T.A. Hoffman forever ruins your favorite Christmas time ballet. Try overcoming this sucker, Tchaikovsky. Biblio-Babble: Wonderful Christian Entertainment This Is Not: Like a lot of people, my family and I watch The Nutcracker every Christmas, since it seems to be a holiday staple. However, either I’m totally missing something or I just wasn’t ”You’ll have to suffer a lot if you want to take charge of a poor, deformed Nutcracker. Only you can rescue him. Be strong and loyal.” Synopsis: E.T.A. Hoffman forever ruins your favorite Christmas time ballet. Try overcoming this sucker, Tchaikovsky. Biblio-Babble: Wonderful Christian Entertainment This Is Not: Like a lot of people, my family and I watch The Nutcracker every Christmas, since it seems to be a holiday staple. However, either I’m totally missing something or I just wasn’t paying attention when we started watching it when I was a child, but I don’t remember it being so darn dark in nature. However, after doing some research, Tchaikovsky adapted it from not only Hoffman’s story, but Alexandre Dumas adapted story as well. So I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we were given a very PG rated version of the story. Cause let me tell you something, children; this book is dark as HELL. I was in a constant state of surprise at how such an innocent looking ballet show stemmed from such a dark and twisted story. Dance of the Demented Mice: I don’t quite know what mice might have ever done to E.T.A. Hoffman for him to make them as vicious, twisted, and icky as he did in this story, but they sure did something. Cause the mice in this book are horrible. If you already don’t like mice, then you probably sure as hell won’t like the seven headed Mouse King. Yes, he does have seven. One for each of the deadly sins, I supposed. And these mice are sneaky little turds who are extremely good at blackmail. I mean, they extort food, puzzles, and dolls from an innocent eight year old child! And they really don’t do anything with their loot! CGI Barbie Acted More Animated Then This: Added to my Nutcracker fueled phase was the release of the horribly CGI animated (but still classic) Christmas special, Barbie and the Nutcracker. Re-watching it with one of my nieces, the animation was absolutely atrocious, with the characters moving and looking like they were chronically constipated. However, compared to the writing in this book, they moved so fluidly. The writing in this book was perhaps the biggest downfall for me. It was just so boring that I had trouble finding the willpower to finish this book, even though it’s only a little over 100 pages. The narration style is very off, and waivers from first to third perspective (which is exceedingly hard to do). The Words No Bookworm Wants to Hear: The ballet is better. There; I said it. Without the wooden writing driving the narrative, the story feels more alive with both the ballet and even the animated specials. I also believe that the magic of the story, and the visuals of both the Christmas season and the Nutcracker land (or whatever the hell it’s called) comes off a lot better visually rather than in written word form, in this case. Hoffman’s writing just bogged it all down, and I wasn’t able to feel or see the magic of the wondrous Christmas season that he wanted to impart on us. Was This Just a Wet Dream?: Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this novel isn’t the killer mice that will haunt your nightmares, or the creepy human that is supposed to be the kindly Drosselmeier. Nah, it’s what happens at the end of the book, when a certain nephew of a certain Drosselmeier shows up. And it’s… well, I don’t want to give too much of it away. However, I found the creep level in this book to be reaching maximum proportions. So, (view spoiler)[the nephew of Drosselmeier is the Nutcracker who has turned back into human form. He then proposes marriage to Marie who accepts. This would be fine… if it weren’t for the fact that SHE’S EIGHT FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD, Y’ALL. (hide spoiler)] In fact, for the whole novel, you don’t really know what’s real and what’s in Marie’s imagination. This would be dandy, but the writing and pacing of the book really doesn’t make it work. *********************** This book was not all it was cracked up to be. Not even the most sugary sweet Sugar Plum Fairy could save this cracker of a book. The writing bogged the story down and sucked all the Christmas magic out of it. While the darkness and absurdity of this novel may charm some readers, it didn’t cast its spell on me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*

    The Nutcracker Prince, with Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Nutcracker, was one of my favorite childhood movies, and is still a favorite to this day. When I realized it was based on a short story that also inspired the ballet, obviously I had to read it. I'm not a fan of Where the Wild Things Are, and I wasn't too impressed with Sendak's weird Labyrinth-like tale, Outside Over There (because there was no Jareth in it, obviously). But I wanted to read this version because Auntie J said it was The Nutcracker Prince, with Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Nutcracker, was one of my favorite childhood movies, and is still a favorite to this day. When I realized it was based on a short story that also inspired the ballet, obviously I had to read it. I'm not a fan of Where the Wild Things Are, and I wasn't too impressed with Sendak's weird Labyrinth-like tale, Outside Over There (because there was no Jareth in it, obviously). But I wanted to read this version because Auntie J said it was the best version ever. I actually read another version of this tale and was less than impressed. I figured it was just a bad translation, but this version was quite similar. The illustrations were good, but not good enough to make me swoon. The story was not quite to my taste and, in fact, a bit weird. If Marie was only seven at the beginning, how did she get betrothed at the end? She would have been eight by the time they got married. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd be a fan of this story if it weren't for the movie version I love. I'm not sure what it is about the movie that makes it so magical for me, but certainly Tchaikovsky's beautiful music used throughout doesn't hurt. Clara takes a much more active role in the narrative than the book's Marie. Also, look how adorable Nutcracker is. Yes, yes, he's supposed to be ugly. But a character voiced by Keifer Sutherland could never be ugly! I don't think I'll be seeking out any more written versions of this story, but I am interested in the ballet and other movie versions.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Camilla

    4.5* Book #4 in #CramaThon2015. (Read a book under 200 pages.)

  8. 4 out of 5

    dely

    Till now I've liked everything I've read by ETA Hoffmann and I don't understand why he isn't more known and read, seen also that he is important in literature seen that several important and more famous authors took inspiration from his works. What I above all like is his skill to mix magic, fantasy and reality and also a bit of creepiness. Till now in all his stories I was enraptured by this mix, that at the end I wasn't able to say what was true and what was magic. Also in this story, till the Till now I've liked everything I've read by ETA Hoffmann and I don't understand why he isn't more known and read, seen also that he is important in literature seen that several important and more famous authors took inspiration from his works. What I above all like is his skill to mix magic, fantasy and reality and also a bit of creepiness. Till now in all his stories I was enraptured by this mix, that at the end I wasn't able to say what was true and what was magic. Also in this story, till the end I didn't know if Marie really lived everything or if she only dreamt about it. To be honest, I didn't worry about it because thanks to Hoffmann's skill, the dreamy kid that is in me came out, so I absolutely believed Marie's story. I think that the important thing reading such stories, isn't that they have to be real, but realistic though weird things happen. I like it when an author has that special skill to make also weird happenings believable. Usually I don't read fantasy, but Hoffmann is one of those authors that make me enjoy also genres I never read because he makes fantasy become real. His stories start with realism and only later he adds some magic inside. This isn't only a story for children, also an adult may enjoy it. And I don't think it's a Christmas story though the events happen during Christmas time; in my opinion some parts are maybe a little bit too dark to be read during Christmas. Only 4 stars and not 5 because of the end: (view spoiler)[I was sure that Marie was a child, 7 or so years old, so I don't understand how it's possible that at the end she gets betrothed. I don't think that all those years passed, but only a few weeks from the beginning of the story. (hide spoiler)]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessaka

    I read this book years ago, but since I am reviewing Christmas books that I am reading this year, I have added this. Back in the 1970s my friend Cathy took me and her grandmother to see The Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my Christmas and many to come. We did a lot of Christmas things when I lived in Berkeley. San Francisco was always great for looking in store windows to see the old fashion Christmas displays and Union Square was always lit up. And then we enjoyed the I read this book years ago, but since I am reviewing Christmas books that I am reading this year, I have added this. Back in the 1970s my friend Cathy took me and her grandmother to see The Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my Christmas and many to come. We did a lot of Christmas things when I lived in Berkeley. San Francisco was always great for looking in store windows to see the old fashion Christmas displays and Union Square was always lit up. And then we enjoyed the Dunsmuir Mansion in Oakland where they had the house all decorated and a Christmas craft fair on the grounds. I miss those things. But where I live at least we have the Thompson House where they have a craft fair every year and homemade cookies, candy, and breads.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    I love my edition with its wonderful introduction and Maurice Sendak illustrations. I love the music and the dancing that is the ballet. But there is something about this story that always creeps me out. It is not the many headed mouse king. No, its the whole ending bit. The story is about girl growing up, to a degree, except that it is rather strange because when she travel with her dream prince she dreams of a place any child would want. Than all of a sudden she is getting married to a little I love my edition with its wonderful introduction and Maurice Sendak illustrations. I love the music and the dancing that is the ballet. But there is something about this story that always creeps me out. It is not the many headed mouse king. No, its the whole ending bit. The story is about girl growing up, to a degree, except that it is rather strange because when she travel with her dream prince she dreams of a place any child would want. Than all of a sudden she is getting married to a little man. It's kinda freaky. The ballet does it better. But it show has some beautiful art.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    What little girl hasn’t been spellbound after seeing the magical wonders of the Nutcracker ballet and feeling the crescendo enthralling music of Tchaikovsky’s Op. 71 pulsing through the air? I certainly was. December 1967, my parents took me to see my first Nutcracker performance at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. Continuing the tradition, I in turn took my daughters during the winter of their kindergarten years. And though I haven’t experienced a live performance since 1993, every What little girl hasn’t been spellbound after seeing the magical wonders of the Nutcracker ballet and feeling the crescendo enthralling music of Tchaikovsky’s Op. 71 pulsing through the air? I certainly was. December 1967, my parents took me to see my first Nutcracker performance at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. Continuing the tradition, I in turn took my daughters during the winter of their kindergarten years. And though I haven’t experienced a live performance since 1993, every Christmas season I try to catch a performance on PBS. As for the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann (“Written in 1816 by one of the leaders of German Romanticism for his children, nephews, and nieces”) it isn't the lighthearted jovial story I had imagined and associated with the dance world’s interpretations thereof. It’s considerably much darker, and at times gruesome, with religious, sacrilegious, political, astrological, and militant undertones - as were many fairy tales of yore. Which shouldn't be a shocker, right? Anyone who has read Grimm's Fairy Tales will tell you Disney’s versions are watered down considerably, regarding violence, macabre situations, and “grim” endings. Yet still, I embrace my child-like delusions of grandeur. Therefore in all fairness for reading/reviewing the original version of “The Nutcracker” I had to temporarily disengage my Prima Donna visions of sugar plums and embrace the tale for the era it was written in, taking in account German customs, the original intended audience, and fairy tales typical for the time and region. So then all things considered - discounting my preference for merrily performed grand jetes and pirouettes – 4 seasonal classic stars (era/genre specific) for Hoffmann’s “The Nutcracker.”

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jalilah

    While reading this for a Yule themed group read in the Into the Forest group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... I realised that I had never actually read this original version! I was surprised to find that it's much darker and creepier than the ballet. I then discovered that the ballet is actually based on a short story written by Alexandre Dumas! I can't give a book where mice play such a large role more than 3 stars, but regardless this book is interesting to read if you're interested in While reading this for a Yule themed group read in the Into the Forest group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... I realised that I had never actually read this original version! I was surprised to find that it's much darker and creepier than the ballet. I then discovered that the ballet is actually based on a short story written by Alexandre Dumas! I can't give a book where mice play such a large role more than 3 stars, but regardless this book is interesting to read if you're interested in knowing some background history of the Nutcracker ballet.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    This text is drawn from the Hoffman original, so it is a bit simpler than the ballet with which more of us today are familiar. Marie doesn't turn into a grown woman, there is only the slightest hint of romance, and the godfather is a kindly background figure rather than a threat. Yana Sedova's illustrations were very pretty, although a bit heavy on the clockwork motif, which drops out of the story after the first few pages. Perhaps some kindly librarian could add her as the illustrator, as well This text is drawn from the Hoffman original, so it is a bit simpler than the ballet with which more of us today are familiar. Marie doesn't turn into a grown woman, there is only the slightest hint of romance, and the godfather is a kindly background figure rather than a threat. Yana Sedova's illustrations were very pretty, although a bit heavy on the clockwork motif, which drops out of the story after the first few pages. Perhaps some kindly librarian could add her as the illustrator, as well as shoving the word "the" in front of "Mouse King" (which ought be two words).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katy

    A beautiful book to read and to look at. There is more to the story than the ballet. A classic that I have never read before -- highly recommended, especially at Christmas.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    4.5 stars. December 2017: I love all the imagery this brings to mind <3 The story-ception of this all really stood out to me this time, and how there are at least three worlds that are parallel, which definitely lends itself to symbolic analysis eventually. It can be sort of choppy and confusing at points, but that only adds to the weirdness of it all. I still remain convinced that Baum was slightly inspired by this for the Oz stories; this time around, in addition to seeing the fairyland as a 4.5 stars. December 2017: I love all the imagery this brings to mind <3 The story-ception of this all really stood out to me this time, and how there are at least three worlds that are parallel, which definitely lends itself to symbolic analysis eventually. It can be sort of choppy and confusing at points, but that only adds to the weirdness of it all. I still remain convinced that Baum was slightly inspired by this for the Oz stories; this time around, in addition to seeing the fairyland as a jurisdiction of Oz as before, I pictured the Princess Pirlipat after her transformation as a Scoodler. December 2016: A very lovely story. I loved the settings, the characters, and the surrealiness of it all--subtle enough to not be overly creepy, but certainly enough to warrant the term. I had never seen any adaptation of this before reading it, so I had no preconceived imagery in my head; and for that reason, I don't think I would ever want to see any adaptation of it (especially since it seems like that has been toned down from this version). The emphasis on having an imaginary world that you can escape to and create vivid stories about in your spare time is lovely. A story I can definitely see myself rereading every Christmas.

  16. 4 out of 5

    classic reverie

    All my life I heard about "The Nutcracker" but never really knew anything about it and certainly never heard of E.T.A. Hoffmann, though since coming to Goodreads, I have other stories of his on my list. Let me explain, during Christmastime when I was really little, I saw the store versions placed around the stores but we never owned one. I also knew there was a play; I have heard some of the music but I never saw the play or read this story. So when I saw this with some other Christmas offerings All my life I heard about "The Nutcracker" but never really knew anything about it and certainly never heard of E.T.A. Hoffmann, though since coming to Goodreads, I have other stories of his on my list. Let me explain, during Christmastime when I was really little, I saw the store versions placed around the stores but we never owned one. I also knew there was a play; I have heard some of the music but I never saw the play or read this story. So when I saw this with some other Christmas offerings from Kindle last year, I planned on reading them in 2018. I love the covers that Penguin Books have to these stories which the artist portrays birds. So going into this quite blind and quite older, I really did not know what to expect. I started thinking okay but by the time I was finished I loved this story of Marie and The Nutcracker. I soon knew about the Mouse King and all the fantasy world or is it really to Marie. It brought all the tales within this story together and made it quite a charming romantic Christmas read, that after I was done I see why it has become a classic. There is something in here for both boys, girls and especially adults who like to wonder. The moral lessons are there but the story is what carries me away to Marie's home and the glass cabinet and the tale told. If you have never read this before you might want to give it a try! 🎄💟🎄💖🎄

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    My mom and I used to see this ballet nearly every winter, but I'd never read the original story. I loved seeing Sendak's illustrations accompanying it, and if I see the ballet again I'll have a thorough understanding of the backstory!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love the ballet and now I love the book too. Magical.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    This story is just ok. It has inspired many many adaptions which are better than the original. I don't have any childhood connection to the Nutcracker so I don't have the same nostalgia others do. I'm glad I read it once but I wouldn't read it again.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Suvi

    Let's return to Christmas time for a moment with the last book I read in 2016 (while my dad was suffering from influenza, and I myself had a cold and was in bed throughout Christmas with chocolate pralines, so perfect time for something light), and the last book from that year I'm going to review. The story of the Nutcracker is best known as the Tchaikovsky ballet, which in turn is based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of Hoffmann's story. The ballet's gorgeous music and the beautiful sets Let's return to Christmas time for a moment with the last book I read in 2016 (while my dad was suffering from influenza, and I myself had a cold and was in bed throughout Christmas with chocolate pralines, so perfect time for something light), and the last book from that year I'm going to review. The story of the Nutcracker is best known as the Tchaikovsky ballet, which in turn is based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of Hoffmann's story. The ballet's gorgeous music and the beautiful sets and costumes bring just the right kind of magic to Christmas, which I think is what many traditionally-inclined Christmas lovers need at that time of the year. Hoffmann's story is magical as well. Even though the ballet is great in many ways and the Christmas magic is unrivalled, it kind of grows old really quickly if you watch a lot of similar productions. Sometimes it seems a bit stretched as well, and compared with the original story, almost too straightforward. I read the newest English translation by Ralph Manheim, and I have no complaints there (I occasionally like to read aloud whenever I'm reading nonfiction or a children's book in English, so I often gravitate towards the English translation/edition even when there's a Finnish one available). The illustrations are by Maurice Sendak (who also created the sets and costumes for the 1983 Seattle production). At first glance Sendak's pictures are pretty and just the right kind of traditional I usually like, but they started to seem a bit flat at one point. I love Tove Jansson's black and white Moomin illustrations and Rudolf Koivu's atmospheric works, but at least in Nutcracker Sendak's illustrations seem a bit lifeless. Maybe I'm thinking this too much, but they're just not something I'd expect to see in a German children's classic. You see, Hoffmann's Nutcracker also has darker tones. It's not a colorful marshmallowy story, but occasionally it crunches like brittle between your teeth. The joy of getting presents each more gorgeous than the other turns into a bloody battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Marie's dreamlike adventures draw you into a fairy tale land that isn't simplistically innocent, but has also cracks and faults. It's a world where mice threaten to bite a baby in half and a creepy dude with a sweet tooth comes to chew your marzipan house to pieces. So, when next Christmas the roofs are (hopefully) covered in snow and silence descends, make a cup of hot cocoa and sink into the depths of your arm chair. The Nutcracker is waiting on the pages for the next Marie. "The children must have been especially well behaved that year, for they had never before received so many splendid presents. The big Christmas tree in the middle of the room was decorated with any number of gold and silver apples, and sugared almonds, bright-colored candles, and goodies of all kinds shaped like buds and blossoms hung from every branch. But the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundred of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits."

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vera

    Oh lovely, lovely! I had no idea that the famous Tchaikovsky ballet was actually based on an adaption of Alexandre Dumas' (!) adaption of this fairytale by Hoffmann, neither did I have the slightest clue that Hoffmann wrote a fairytale like this; since so far I had only read his 'Nachtstücke' including The Sandman, as well as some other weird tales. The story follows seven-year-old Marie, who is given a wooden (though not very pretty looking) nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer for Oh lovely, lovely! I had no idea that the famous Tchaikovsky ballet was actually based on an adaption of Alexandre Dumas' (!) adaption of this fairytale by Hoffmann, neither did I have the slightest clue that Hoffmann wrote a fairytale like this; since so far I had only read his 'Nachtstücke' including The Sandman, as well as some other weird tales. The story follows seven-year-old Marie, who is given a wooden (though not very pretty looking) nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer for Christmas. That night, she dreams of a battle between the nutcracker and the seven-headed mouse king. The next days, Godfather Drosselmeyer tells her a tale of how the nutcracker, who was a beautiful boy one day, got his ugly appearance by a spell cast on him by the mother of the mouse king. Grown to love her nutcracker dearly, Marie is determined to help him defeat the evil mouse king and break the spell that made him ugly. She provides him with the sword he needs to slaughter the mouse king and does so. Then, the nutcracker takes Marie to a wonderful fairyland, 'the doll kingdom', with sugared houses, lemonade flows and an almond milk lake. Marie promises to marry the nutcracker, he then turns into his own beautiful self, and she becomes queen of the doll kingdom. Now isn't that cute? Hoffmann uses the loveliest language to describe everything, I could almost see myself walking through the sugary and colorful doll kingdom. I loved everything Maries little brother Fritz did and said - but in German it's much funnier than in the English translation. »Das ist ein einfältiger dummer Bursche«, sprach Fritz. »Will Nußknacker sein und hat kein ordentliches Gebiß – mag wohl auch sein Handwerk gar nicht verstehn. Hihi! I enjoyed the hidden note on children's imagination, that gives the impression that the novella is also intended for adult readers, as children aren't supposed, I guess, to understand what the nutcracker means in the following situation. When Marie and the nutcracker are walking through the doll kingdom, Marie sees a beautiful lake with silver swans, for which she had wished to be made by her godfather Drosselmeyer, and cries that she is delighted to see he has indeed manufactured it: 'That is something that your uncle can never bring about; much rather yourself, dear Miss Stahlbaum, but let’s not bother our heads about it, but take the boat across the Lake of Roses to the capital'. This novella is so lovely because it enables one to lose oneself in a world of imagination. I'd like to quote Albert Einstein here, who wisely said: 'Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited'.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    “Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially.” Enjoyment Rate - 62% Story - 14% Characters - 6% Total - 82% Rating - What a more perfect time to read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker than in Christmas Eve? I am so glad I decided to read this right before Christmas because it certainly adds to the experience and it did improve my festive mood. I enjoyed reading this book and I flew through it in one sitting. I have not watched the film or the ballet “Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially.” Enjoyment Rate - 62% Story - 14% Characters - 6% Total - 82% Rating - ★★★★☆ What a more perfect time to read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker than in Christmas Eve? I am so glad I decided to read this right before Christmas because it certainly adds to the experience and it did improve my festive mood. I enjoyed reading this book and I flew through it in one sitting. I have not watched the film or the ballet performance, but based from what I have read, I think I might check it out. Knowing how the book goes, I cannot help but be intrigued on how they managed to bring the story to life because the book was, if I have to summarize it one word, magical. I like the writing of the author, how it seems like he is actually telling the story to me, and that definitely contributed to the whole experience. It was as if he’s my grandpa telling me the story in a cozy sofa near a fireplace. It was so atmospheric and although it seems childish at some point, I still had a great time reading it. It’s not that long so you can read it one once sitting. I recommend reading this while snowing, inside your living room near a fireplace (if you have one), snuggled up in a blanket with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. Ugh I wish it snowed here just so I can do that. The story itself isn’t mind-blowing perse, and the characters are not the ones you get attached to, but it’s more about the experience you have while reading such a delightful story.All throughout reading the book, I cannot help but smile on how pure and genuine the story was. It warms your heart and for my experience, it brought out the nostalgia of how fun it was when you are still a child. I miss being a child, not having to worry about the real stresses of life. Yes it’s a children’s book, but I honestly recommend it to every adult out there, especially this Christmas Time because it will hopefully touch your heart the same way it did to me. Just ignore the fact that the story was about a doll who came to life at night when everyone else is asleep, because honestly now that I think of it, that would seem like a good plot to a 90s horror film. But believe me when I say it was anything but that haha. It was great and it was easily one of the best reads I had this year.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is my second time reading this book. I read if for school in 6th grade, all the 6th grade English classes read it and then we got to go see a production of the Ballet. This is one of my favorite stories and definitely my favorite ballet. I enjoyed rereading this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    akiko

    3.5 Mysterious Nutcracker Stars. Of all the adaptations I've been aware of for this story over the years, like theater plays and ballets, I never actually read the original literature that spurred on all of the retellings of this rather dark children's tale, until now. It tells the story of a 7 year old girl named Maria Stahlbaum who spends Christmas with her family, and a Nutcracker is one of the family gifts. Maria is quickly intrigued by the toy/nutcracker, and is a bit heartbroken when its jaw 3.5 Mysterious Nutcracker Stars. Of all the adaptations I've been aware of for this story over the years, like theater plays and ballets, I never actually read the original literature that spurred on all of the retellings of this rather dark children's tale, until now. It tells the story of a 7 year old girl named Maria Stahlbaum who spends Christmas with her family, and a Nutcracker is one of the family gifts. Maria is quickly intrigued by the toy/nutcracker, and is a bit heartbroken when its jaw breaks. On the story goes telling of 'battles' that happen during the night... the backstory of Maria's godfather, Drosselmeyer, and several other things. This story has an Alice and Wonderland kind of feel, but this story was published years before. All and all, I rather enjoyed this story, and I would read it again in the future.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Coral Davies

    Possibly one of the more insane children's stories I have ever read. A very enjoyable, sweet tale of a little girl and a nutcracker and how she helped him to defeat a 7-headed mouse king tyrant. In parts the translation was confusing - the author kept altering who he was speaking to, wavering from "my dear audience" to "attentive Fritz" and "young dear Marie" etc and often the exchanges between characters would be illogical i.e. Marie watches princesses make sweets and wants to join in. But the Possibly one of the more insane children's stories I have ever read. A very enjoyable, sweet tale of a little girl and a nutcracker and how she helped him to defeat a 7-headed mouse king tyrant. In parts the translation was confusing - the author kept altering who he was speaking to, wavering from "my dear audience" to "attentive Fritz" and "young dear Marie" etc and often the exchanges between characters would be illogical i.e. Marie watches princesses make sweets and wants to join in. But the next sentence says "as if they read the nutcracker's mind, one of the Princesses offers Marie a bowl to pound up rock candy". Not sure if its a mistranslation or the author was deliberately muddling things up. Overall, a magical little tale. Inspired to see the infamous ballet it informed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Marquise

    Weird story, and with a seriously creepy finale, if you ask me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    A bit long, better or older children. Lovely illustrations and story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Burgoine

    Listening to this reminded me how much I find a lot of classical Children's stories to be so... cruelly unfair to children. Maria/Marie is always so completely dismissed. Fred/Fritz is constantly shamed. And at the end, the reward for being steadfast and loving is a child marriage in an imaginary kingdom. It's a lovely story in many places, and the imagery is sort of dreamy (I love the trip to the land of sweets and dolls) as much as it is dark, and certainly there's a good message in there about Listening to this reminded me how much I find a lot of classical Children's stories to be so... cruelly unfair to children. Maria/Marie is always so completely dismissed. Fred/Fritz is constantly shamed. And at the end, the reward for being steadfast and loving is a child marriage in an imaginary kingdom. It's a lovely story in many places, and the imagery is sort of dreamy (I love the trip to the land of sweets and dolls) as much as it is dark, and certainly there's a good message in there about not rejecting others on the basis of their looks (albeit dimmed by "curing" them).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I definitely enjoyed this story but I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style. I never really have been super familiar with the story of the Nutcracker, so it was really interesting reading how it all came about. The first 75% is really pretty dark and the end is light and fun. I picked it up after seeing the new Nutcracker movie by Disney (I liked the movie better) and it was a quick and fun read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sue K H

    I haven't seen the Nutcraker ballet since I was a child. When I investigated the ballet for an upcoming performance, and found out that Alexander Dumas wrote the version that Tchaikovsky was inspired by, I had to get a copy. I love everything about this edition. The cover is beautiful and reading it was a delight.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.