David Walser and Jan Pienkowski have combined again to great effect in retelling The Nutcracker. Like two craftsmen plucked from the story itself, they have created a spectacular piece of art. The cover is glittered, with gold foil edging and embossed accents. At the cover’s centre, a heart-shaped cutout reveals the lovers. Inside, illustrating the story, there are five full-page illustrations with white paper silhouettes on sparkling, textured backgrounds. The finale is a stunning 3D picture, complete with fairytale castle, trees, icicles and the lovers in a horse-drawn sleigh.
The original story is not the most straight-forward tale but Walser does an admirable job bringing to life the spells and magic of Uncle Drosselmeier and the furious battles with the Mouse King and his army.
It is a book that will delight children of all ages from the moment they first spy it in a bookshop or unwrap it for themselves. It is perfect for reading aloud to KS1 but is equally sought after by children as old as 10 and 11. I read this with a small group of girls who are normally reluctant to read aloud. They were completely captivated from start to finish.
reviewed for ACHUKA by Michael Lucchesi