> The Things You Can Read: Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann; Illustrations by Maurice Sendak; Translation by Ralph Manheim

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Saturday, December 8, 2012

Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann; Illustrations by Maurice Sendak; Translation by Ralph Manheim

The Nutcracker
Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann by Maurice Sendak 
Hardcover: 120 pages
Published: October 2012  (first published 1816)
ISBN: 051755285X (ISBN13: 9780517552858)
Edition Language: English
Original Title: Nußknacker und Mausekönig: Aus: "Die Serapionsbrüder"

"On the twenty-fourth of December Dr. Stahlbaum's children were not allowed to set foot in the small family parlor, much less the adjoining company parlor--not at any time during the day." Nutcracker
If you grew up reading Where the Wild Things Are, and you love the luscious illustrations of Maurice Sendak, the Caldecott Award winning author and illustrator, then here is a Christmas classic for all you Sendak fans, young and old alike, the new updated release of E.T.A. Hoffmann's Nutcracker with illustrations by Maurice Sendak and translation by Ralph Manheim.  The New York Times Book Review called this new release, "A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children's books of the year."  If you have never read it, here is your chance, if you have, then here is your chance to reacquaint yourself with a Christmas treasure.

Maurice Sendak, said, “You cannot write for children. They're much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them. ”  How true, and this book fits the bill.  You might be thinking, Oh, I've seen the ballet version, I don't need to read the book, but you would be wrong.  The ballet, version of the Nutcracker is based on Hoffmann's story, but. as with any adaptation, key elements have been left out, which makes the reading of Nutcracker all the more enjoyable.  Also, the more edgy tone of the original story has been softened in the ballet version of the same name.  Think of the ballet as the Disney version of the story, if you will.  

The timing of the reissue of Nutcracker  is perfect coming, coincidentally, just as Sendak fans everywhere are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the release of Sendak's award-winning Where the Wild Things Are.  As an aside, take a peek at the exhibit at the Appleton Museum of Art entitled "Sendak & Co.: Children's Book Illustrations Since ‘Where the Wild Things Are'.

Hoffman's story is presented much like a Grimm's fairy tale.  Written originally in 1816, the story has the feel of another time and place; one filled with magic and mystery.  The language matches the time period.  Some might think the vocabulary is too difficult for the very young, but paired with the imaginative illustrations on par with Sendak's  Where the Wild Things Are, this, in my opinion, is not a problem.  If your child is very young, I would suggest reading two or three pages a night during December until the book is completed.  What better way to introduce the very young to new words.  The English teacher in me loves the fact that the Nutcracker uses, within the prose of the story, poetry, alliteration, and repetition to further enhance the story line. For example:
"Drums rolled trumpets blared.  The princes and potentates appeared in their resplendent robes of state, some on white palfreys, others in crystal coaches.  crown on head and scepter in hand, the king welcomed them and took his seat at the head of the table." Nutcracker
Enter the magical cosmos of the Nutcracker and meet Clare, Marie, Fritz, and Godfather Dosselmeier.  Make your way into the fairy tale world of the King of the Rats, and General Nutcracker.  If you are looking for a book for the whole family to enjoy during the holidays, again, here is a classic, the new updated release of E.T A. Hoffmann's Nutcracker with illustrations by Maurice Sendak; Translation by Ralph Manheim.

For more information on this Christmas classic click here: Random House: Nutcracker and Random House: Sendak Biography

We, here at the Things You Can Read, would like to thank WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing this book for free, in return for an honest review.

Let us here at the Things You Can Read, know what you think of this Christmas classic!

Happy Reading!

The Things You Can Read
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

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