cover image The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

, , illus. by Eric Puybaret. . Sterling, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4027-5562-0

Cech's adaptation retains the story-within-a-story structure of Hoffman's original, while Puybaret's stylized illustrations—composed of strong but muted colors and clean, flat shapes—suggest a dizzying fever-dream. After battling the Mouse King, Marie travels to the Nutcracker's hypnagogic homeland where “harlequins somersaulted one over the other” and “Turkish dancers spun so fast they moved like tops across the floor,” awakening on Christmas morning with a headache and sore throat. Fixing her nutcracker, Godfather Drosselmeier relays the Nutcracker's tale over several pages and, years later, the Nutcracker comes to her as a young man, his curse broken. A provocative and layered conceptualization. Ages 5–12. (Oct.)