cover image The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

E. T. A. Hoffmann, , adapted by Wren Maysen, illus. by Gail de Marcken. . Scholastic/Orchard, $18.99 (56pp) ISBN 978-0-545-03773-0

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.)