The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition

Chris Barton, illus. by Cathy Gendron. Lerner/Millbrook, $19.99 (36p) ISBN 978-1-4677-2151-6
Balancing evocative turns of phrase with a crisp, forthright narrative, Barton delivers an involving account of how watching The Nutcracker ballet, which originated in Russia, became an American holiday tradition. The movement was fueled by the Christensen brothers from Utah, who turned their passion for dance into careers in vaudeville and prestigious dance companies, before two of them choreographed and staged the first full-length American production of The Nutcracker in 1944. In her first picture book, Gendron uses pencil-and-oil art—strikingly textured with sweeping scratch-marks—to provide views from studio, audience, and stage wings, expertly capturing both the period setting and the graceful movements of the dancers. A detailed timeline and archival photos round out a fascinating bit of artistic investigation, one with year-round appeal. Ages 7–11. Author’s agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/14/2015
Release date: 09/01/2015
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