The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

E. T. A. Hoffmann, Author, Gail De Marcken, Illustrator
E. T. A. Hoffmann, Author, Gail De Marcken, Illustrator , adapted by Wren Maysen, illus. by Gail de Marcken. Scholastic/Orchard $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-0-545-03773-0
Reviewed on: 10/26/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
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Discerning use of full-page spreads and decorative border art allays Maysen's substantial text in this glowing interpretation. De Marcken's detail-rich watercolors are marked by a vibrant palette (the Nutcracker wears purple and gold, Marie a pink sash-tied dress), while the attention paid to the mechanisms of toys and to dolls' facial expressions (Marie takes the form of a doll) further emphasizes the fantastical nature of the story. This is a loyal and energetic version, best for read-aloud in multiple sittings, given the length of the text. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)

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