‘How could you imagine, silly child, that this toy, which is made of cloth and wood, could possibly be alive?’ The nutcracker doll that mysterious Godfather Drosselmeyer gives to little Marie for Christmas is no ordinary toy. On Christmas Eve, at the clocks strike midnight, Marie watches as the Nutcracker and her entire cabinet of playthings come to life and boldly do battle against the malevolent Mouse King and his armies. But this is only the start of the tale. Read on for enchantment and transformation; enter a world by turns fantastical and sinister, a kingdom of dolls and spun-sugar palaces, and learn the true history of the brave little Nutcracker.
The Nutcracker is probably second only to A Christmas Carol as one of the most iconic Christmas stories. We are all familiar with the ballet to some extent, even if it’s just recognising the music for Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. Few though probably know the origins of the story behind the ballet.
The original nutcracker story was a fairy tale published by E.T Hoffman. However it was not Hoffmans version which would inspire the ballet but Dumas’s take on it. I’ve seen the ballet, I know the general story so when I saw this in the bookshop decided it would make a nice festive read.
I love the ballet but I can honestly say I never warmed to the book. I’m not sure what it is but it seemed less magical. I think the problem was when put into words the story became more unbelievable. Or possibly the tale just seemed a little dated. I read a lot of classics and normally this wouldn’t bother me, but in this instance it just didn’t sit right with me. Why I cannot explain.
Overall I think this is a tale that works better as a ballet or a children’s picture book. 3 stars because it is a sweet tale even if I didn’t enjoy it in this format.