Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The nutcracker and the mouse king

The nutcracker and the mouse king

Wren Maysen
Illustrator:  Gail de Marcken 
Picture Book
Scholastic, 0000   ISBN: 0545037735

Every Christmas Eve, Marie and Fritz Stahlbaum get a special treat, their Godfather Dosselmeier gives them wonderful toys that he has made for them. This year Godfather gives the children a beautiful dollhouse and a wooden soldier nutcracker. Often reckless and in a hurry, Fritz breaks the nutcracker by accident. Compassionate Marie takes pity on the broken soldier and she cares for him tenderly.

The evening Marie stays up a little later than everyone else, and to her amazement some incredible things start to happen. The room fills with mice and then a huge Mouse King arrives. The Mouse King leads his mice soldiers in an attack, which is then repulsed by the Nutcracker and his toy allies. Toy soldiers, dolls, puppets, and animals join the battle, and then…Marie wakes up.

The next morning Marie wakes up and she is in bed. She has a cut on her elbow and she has to stay in bed. One evening, Godfather Dosselmeier comes to visit Marie and he tells her the sad story of the Nutcracker.

Many children are familiar with the Nutcracker story in some form. In this book, Wren Maysen presents her readers with a wonderful adaptation of E.T.A. Hoffman’s original tale. This version of the Nutcracker is more involved than the one used in the Nutcracker ballet, and Gail de Marcken’s rich and detailed illustrations beautifully compliment the magic filled story.