#1060 – The Nutcracker by New York City Ballet and Valeria Docampo

the-nutcracker The Nutcracker
Written by New York City Ballet
Illustrated by Valeria Docampo
Little Simon   9/20/2016
40 pages    Ages 4—8

“TAKE A JOURNEY WITH MARIE and her Nutcracker Prince in this beautifully illustrated reimagining of one of the most popular ballets of all time, The Nutcracker. Using the landmark 1954 production by George Balanchine for New York City Ballet as her inspiration, illustrator Valeria Docampo captures all of the wonder of this holiday classic through her magical drawings. From the holiday party where Marie’s story begins to the fantastical celebration in the Land of Sweets, all of your favorite moments are here. This enchanted storybook is sure to become a treasured part of your holiday traditions, just as attending a performance of the ballet has become a beloved annual event for audiences around the world.” [INSIDE JACKET]

The Nutcracker Ballet has been my favorite ballet since I first saw it as a child of eight or nine. And the Land of the Sweets, it was my favorite part of the ballet. All those candies dancing, swirling and twisting around was a spectacle I’ll always remember. This Nutcracker tells the same story and Decampo’s illustrations brings the story alive on each spread. It may not be the same as seeing a live ballet, but it is so dramatically close I shivered from excitement. But first, I was angry—angry Fritz was such a spoilt brat. He takes Marie’s Christmas gift and deliberately throws it to the ground, smashing and breaking apart the beautiful nutcracker.
nutcrackerMarie’s magical uncle Herr Drosselmeier, who gave Marie the Nutcracker, returns while all are asleep and fixes his gift. Herr Drosselmeier may have released a spell while fixing the nutcracker. Later that night, with all still asleep, Marie is awakened to find her Christmas tree growing in unimaginable bounds toward her ceiling. The nutcracker also grows in height, matching that of Marie. And mice have arrived and start a fight. Once the Nutcracker defeats the Mouse King and places the king’s crown upon his head, a spell is broken, and the nutcracker turns into a Prince. Together, Marie and her Prince take a magical journey to the Land of the Sweets, where the dancing and celebration continues.
the-nutcracker-9781481458290-in05Docampo’s rich (mostly) gold-toned illustrations (awake) AND BLUE-TONED (Marie’s adventure) are remarkable. Her soft lines and exact positioning dramatically captures the ballet as it would have been performed. The dancing candy canes jump into the air and through candy cane hoops seems perfect. The dancers’ lines, made with their long extremities and pointed of toes, make these thin dancers appear to move on the page. Young children will love this version of The Nutcracker. It is magical, beautiful, at times mesmerizing, and true to the story.
nut2The Nutcracker’s back matter includes “Fun Facts,” such as the skirt mother Ginger wears in the ballet weighs 85 pounds and is 9-feet wide. Trying dancing with that on; wow! One more: The Christmas tree on stage grows higher to 41-feet and it weighs 1-ton. The Nutcracker is big on many levels. Young ballerinas-to-be will imagine themselves as their favorite character, dancing and enjoy the holidays. The Nutcracker is sure to become a family favorite.

The Nutcracker. Text copyright © 2016 by New York City Ballet. Illustrations copyright © 2016 by Valeria Docampo. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Little Simon, New York, NY.

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Add The Nutcracker to Your Goodreads Shelf HERE.

Reprinted with permission from The Nutcracker © 2016 by New York City Ballet, Little Simon, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division.Illustrations © 2016 by Valeria Docampo.


Simon & Schuster, (imprint little bee books), also released a second version of The Nutcracker with younger characters. Marie is now Clara. Rather than the rich glow of the gold spreads in The Nutcracker (reviewed above), this one is rich in blue-tones. Both versions of The Nutcracker is beautiful and tells a wonderful holiday classic.


The Nutcracker by Grace Maccarone and illustrated by Célia Chauffrey [978-1-4998-0281-8] is available at
The NutcrackerIndie Bookslittle bee books

Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

The Nutcracker
Written by New York City Ballet
Illustrated by Valeria Docampo
Little Simon 11/16/2016

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