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On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree— the Nutcracker. Readers of all ages will be enchanted by the stories-within-stories that are as intricate as the toys constructed by Godfather Drosselmeir for Fritz and Marie. Award-winning Roberto Innocentir's detailed illustrations are equally rich and complex, from the attack of the mouse army to Marie's journey through Candy Meadow, Christmas Forest, and Bonbonville. Never have the richness and pleasure of Christmas come so alive as in this new edition of Nutcracker—sure to become a treasured tradition shared between friends and family every holiday season.


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On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree— the Nutcracker. Readers of all ages will be enchanted by the stories-within-stories that are as intricate as the toys constructed by Godfather Drosselmeir for Fritz and Marie. Award-winning Roberto Innocentir's detailed illustrations are equally rich and complex, from the attack of the mouse army to Marie's journey through Candy Meadow, Christmas Forest, and Bonbonville. Never have the richness and pleasure of Christmas come so alive as in this new edition of Nutcracker—sure to become a treasured tradition shared between friends and family every holiday season.

30 review for Nutcracker - Limited Edition

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Okay, I picked this book for a challenge here on Goodreads but now I want the whole set of these books. I'm loving these covers and they are too expensive right now. Maybe get one a month. I will also have to admit I have never seen the Nutcracker on tv. I might have seen bits of one when I was little. Yeah, I never thought I would be into the play, movies, whatever . . . but now I want to watch them. I will also admit that this book creeped me out in the beginning when they were describing the Okay, I picked this book for a challenge here on Goodreads but now I want the whole set of these books. I'm loving these covers and they are too expensive right now. Maybe get one a month. I will also have to admit I have never seen the Nutcracker on tv. I might have seen bits of one when I was little. Yeah, I never thought I would be into the play, movies, whatever . . . but now I want to watch them. I will also admit that this book creeped me out in the beginning when they were describing the sharp little teeth. Lol, I know I can make a horror movie out of anything. But . . . Seriously ↓ He comes to life for little Marie and then it just gets all kinds of cray. However, Marie could not finish. For when she pronounced Drosselmeier's name, Friend Nutcracker's face twisted up devilishly, and his eyes virtually emitted sparkling green prickles. But the moment Marie tried to get properly released, she was again viewed by the mournfully smiling face of honest Nutcracker. And now she knew that it was the draft and the quickly blazing ray of the lamp that had totally distorted his features. Pfffft. . . I'm going to have Nutcracker nightmares now! Sweet little book and I hope to own the whole collection with these little cardinals on them one day!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ruby Granger

    This is a wonderful, magical tale which I regret not having read as a child.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    Translations are, as a rule, pretty bad. I feel like this translation did not do the original story justice at all and a lot of the magic had seeped through the cracks as a result. The story itself has dark layers to it that the ballet does not possess. It has a rather disjointed flow to it and altogether it is a fairly obvious story of a time long ago (when attractiveness was the most important quality in any thing). However, the most important thing about this story is that it was the inspirat Translations are, as a rule, pretty bad. I feel like this translation did not do the original story justice at all and a lot of the magic had seeped through the cracks as a result. The story itself has dark layers to it that the ballet does not possess. It has a rather disjointed flow to it and altogether it is a fairly obvious story of a time long ago (when attractiveness was the most important quality in any thing). However, the most important thing about this story is that it was the inspiration for the ballet, and that makes it expressly priceless and worthy of more than five measly golden stars. The difference of the ballet to the story is utterly necessary, and makes the original story even more dear. Differences are what make adaptations, not their strict adherence to their founders. You can clearly follow the magical path, clearly feel the Christmas spirit and clearly find joy in the book, but from a personal point of view, only if you've seen the marvellous spectacle that is The Nutcracker ballet. [First read: 9th December, 2016. 3 stars. Second read: 19th December, 2017. 3 stars, 5 stars for the illustrated edition.] Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gavin

    What a truly imaginative and festive little classic! A timeless story I had never actually read before, but was so charmed by the imagination of E.T.A. Hoffman, as a young girl called Marie witnesses toys coming to life at the stroke of midnight, including a Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is in battle with the Mouse King, and Marie begins to discover the history of the Nutcracker and a whole kingdom of toys beyond her wildest dreams. Really enjoyed the classic writing style of this and the fact it is What a truly imaginative and festive little classic! A timeless story I had never actually read before, but was so charmed by the imagination of E.T.A. Hoffman, as a young girl called Marie witnesses toys coming to life at the stroke of midnight, including a Nutcracker. The Nutcracker is in battle with the Mouse King, and Marie begins to discover the history of the Nutcracker and a whole kingdom of toys beyond her wildest dreams. Really enjoyed the classic writing style of this and the fact it is rather short makes it a lovely little story to read in one sitting, and one I could probably re-read once a year in the run-up to Christmas. The edition I read has gorgeous illustrations by Sanna Annukka and they really do add something extra to the text. All in all, it's short but effective.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Merphy Napier

    2.5 I think this would be a thrilling and fun story for children and one that comes with some good opportunities for important discussions. That being said, the way the story was presented really didn't hold my attention well at all. It was okay the whole way through until the end. I found the way it turned out quite creepy and odd (view spoiler)[ turns out the nutcracker turns back into the guy he was before he was cursed and he proposes to our protagonist. Which... fine. But she's EIGHT. That's 2.5 I think this would be a thrilling and fun story for children and one that comes with some good opportunities for important discussions. That being said, the way the story was presented really didn't hold my attention well at all. It was okay the whole way through until the end. I found the way it turned out quite creepy and odd (view spoiler)[ turns out the nutcracker turns back into the guy he was before he was cursed and he proposes to our protagonist. Which... fine. But she's EIGHT. That's weird. Really weird. (hide spoiler)]

  6. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

    Is it just me or does anyone else think that E.T.A. Hoffmann and just for the fun of it, L. Frank Baum, were on some kind of drugs when they wrote their most popular books? LOL!! I knew absolutely nothing going into this book. Never saw a play. Never saw a movie. Had always heard about it but never gave it much thought. That being said I must say that I was completely mesmerized! What a delightful story! So happy that I finally read the book! Now I know I'll have to watch a movie or see a play! I Is it just me or does anyone else think that E.T.A. Hoffmann and just for the fun of it, L. Frank Baum, were on some kind of drugs when they wrote their most popular books? LOL!! I knew absolutely nothing going into this book. Never saw a play. Never saw a movie. Had always heard about it but never gave it much thought. That being said I must say that I was completely mesmerized! What a delightful story! So happy that I finally read the book! Now I know I'll have to watch a movie or see a play! I'll never look at my nutcracker the same way again! Merry Christmas everyone! 🎄

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    I clearly remember that when I had to read E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairy tales for a course on German Romanticism I was taking during my undergraduate degree (in 1986, at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick) how strangely surprised I was at just how creepily uncanny and also how generally quite majorly different his 1816 Nußknacker und Mausekönig is from the main storyline of The Nutcracker ballet so universally well known and beloved on a global basis. And yes, our professor then tol I clearly remember that when I had to read E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairy tales for a course on German Romanticism I was taking during my undergraduate degree (in 1986, at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick) how strangely surprised I was at just how creepily uncanny and also how generally quite majorly different his 1816 Nußknacker und Mausekönig is from the main storyline of The Nutcracker ballet so universally well known and beloved on a global basis. And yes, our professor then told us that Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet is in fact based on a loose French adaptation of Nußknacker und Mausekönig by Alexandre Dumas père (his 1844 Histoire d’un casse-noisette), a story which is of course still vaguely similar to E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original theme and content wise, but leaves out all of the psychological questions, the possibility that Marie is actually emotionally afflicted and “seeing things” and equally has a standard fairy tale ending for Clara (not Marie) and her princely suitor that is pure and sweet fantasy and not the vacillation between fairy tale and reality found in Nußknacker und Mausekönig and where readers themselves are not even really all that sure exactly what is fantasy and what are Marie’s fever dreams and visions. Now while in 1986, I was actually a bit disappointed that Nußknacker und Mausekönig was so very different from The Nutcracker ballet storyline, over the years and after multiple rereads, I have come to absolutely and totally adore E.T.A. Hoffmann’s poetic vision and in particular that there are no easy answers with regard to Marie and what she sees and experiences. And yes indeed, the entire not knowing what is reality and what is fantasy, including the battle of the Nutcracker with the Mouse King, I do consider this absolutely readable and most delightful as an adult reader. But honestly, if I had read, if I had encountered Nußknacker und Mausekönig as a child, much of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s presented text would definitely have massively freaked me out, and I do thus also totally understand why Alexandre Dumas père did such a very much less Hoffmannesque and more standardly traditional fairy tale adaptation of Nußknacker und Mausekönig and why Tchaikovsky then also used the Dumas adaptation as the basis for his ballet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    Raecke's text is drawn from the Hoffman original, so it is a bit simpler than the ballet with which more of us today are familiar. Marie doesn't turn into a grown woman, there is only the slightest hint of romance, and the godfather is a kindly background figure rather than a threat. Yana Sedova's illustrations were very pretty, although a bit heavy on the clockwork motif, which drops out of the story after the first few pages. Perhaps some kindly librarian could add her as the illustrator, as w Raecke's text is drawn from the Hoffman original, so it is a bit simpler than the ballet with which more of us today are familiar. Marie doesn't turn into a grown woman, there is only the slightest hint of romance, and the godfather is a kindly background figure rather than a threat. Yana Sedova's illustrations were very pretty, although a bit heavy on the clockwork motif, which drops out of the story after the first few pages. Perhaps some kindly librarian could add her as the illustrator, as well as shoving the word "the" in front of "Mouse King" (which ought be two words).

  9. 4 out of 5

    Calista

    Maurice Sendak did the illustrations for this edition. I love them. They are quirky and what you expect from Maurice. This is the full edition and it is night something you can read in a single bedtime story. This is long. This is also all about how things look. Is someone pretty or not. Marie sees the beauty on the inside over what is on the outside. The nutcracker ballet focuses more on the candyland part of the story and the beauty there. The book spends much of the story on war - heaven help Maurice Sendak did the illustrations for this edition. I love them. They are quirky and what you expect from Maurice. This is the full edition and it is night something you can read in a single bedtime story. This is long. This is also all about how things look. Is someone pretty or not. Marie sees the beauty on the inside over what is on the outside. The nutcracker ballet focuses more on the candyland part of the story and the beauty there. The book spends much of the story on war - heaven help us. I mean, it is a lot about fighting and war. This is so 1800. I think I prefer the ballet to the book and I did enjoy this. Having a shorter version you can read in a night is nice too. Still, I'm glad I finally read this whole thing. Merry Christmas.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    ”You’ll have to suffer a lot if you want to take charge of a poor, deformed Nutcracker. Only you can rescue him. Be strong and loyal.” Synopsis: E.T.A. Hoffman forever ruins your favorite Christmas time ballet. Try overcoming this sucker, Tchaikovsky. Biblio-Babble: Wonderful Christian Entertainment This Is Not: Like a lot of people, my family and I watch The Nutcracker every Christmas, since it seems to be a holiday staple. However, either I’m totally missing something or I just wasn’ ”You’ll have to suffer a lot if you want to take charge of a poor, deformed Nutcracker. Only you can rescue him. Be strong and loyal.” Synopsis: E.T.A. Hoffman forever ruins your favorite Christmas time ballet. Try overcoming this sucker, Tchaikovsky. Biblio-Babble: Wonderful Christian Entertainment This Is Not: Like a lot of people, my family and I watch The Nutcracker every Christmas, since it seems to be a holiday staple. However, either I’m totally missing something or I just wasn’t paying attention when we started watching it when I was a child, but I don’t remember it being so darn dark in nature. However, after doing some research, Tchaikovsky adapted it from not only Hoffman’s story, but Alexandre Dumas adapted story as well. So I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that we were given a very PG rated version of the story. Cause let me tell you something, children; this book is dark as HELL. I was in a constant state of surprise at how such an innocent looking ballet show stemmed from such a dark and twisted story. Dance of the Demented Mice: I don’t quite know what mice might have ever done to E.T.A. Hoffman for him to make them as vicious, twisted, and icky as he did in this story, but they sure did something. Cause the mice in this book are horrible. If you already don’t like mice, then you probably sure as hell won’t like the seven headed Mouse King. Yes, he does have seven. One for each of the deadly sins, I supposed. And these mice are sneaky little turds who are extremely good at blackmail. I mean, they extort food, puzzles, and dolls from an innocent eight year old child! And they really don’t do anything with their loot! CGI Barbie Acted More Animated Then This: Added to my Nutcracker fueled phase was the release of the horribly CGI animated (but still classic) Christmas special, Barbie and the Nutcracker. Re-watching it with one of my nieces, the animation was absolutely atrocious, with the characters moving and looking like they were chronically constipated. However, compared to the writing in this book, they moved so fluidly. The writing in this book was perhaps the biggest downfall for me. It was just so boring that I had trouble finding the willpower to finish this book, even though it’s only a little over 100 pages. The narration style is very off, and waivers from first to third perspective (which is exceedingly hard to do). The Words No Bookworm Wants to Hear: The ballet is better. There; I said it. Without the wooden writing driving the narrative, the story feels more alive with both the ballet and even the animated specials. I also believe that the magic of the story, and the visuals of both the Christmas season and the Nutcracker land (or whatever the hell it’s called) comes off a lot better visually rather than in written word form, in this case. Hoffman’s writing just bogged it all down, and I wasn’t able to feel or see the magic of the wondrous Christmas season that he wanted to impart on us. Was This Just a Wet Dream?: Perhaps the most disturbing thing about this novel isn’t the killer mice that will haunt your nightmares, or the creepy human that is supposed to be the kindly Drosselmeier. Nah, it’s what happens at the end of the book, when a certain nephew of a certain Drosselmeier shows up. And it’s… well, I don’t want to give too much of it away. However, I found the creep level in this book to be reaching maximum proportions. So, (view spoiler)[the nephew of Drosselmeier is the Nutcracker who has turned back into human form. He then proposes marriage to Marie who accepts. This would be fine… if it weren’t for the fact that SHE’S EIGHT FREAKIN’ YEARS OLD, Y’ALL. (hide spoiler)] In fact, for the whole novel, you don’t really know what’s real and what’s in Marie’s imagination. This would be dandy, but the writing and pacing of the book really doesn’t make it work. *********************** This book was not all it was cracked up to be. Not even the most sugary sweet Sugar Plum Fairy could save this cracker of a book. The writing bogged the story down and sucked all the Christmas magic out of it. While the darkness and absurdity of this novel may charm some readers, it didn’t cast its spell on me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*

    The Nutcracker Prince, with Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Nutcracker, was one of my favorite childhood movies, and is still a favorite to this day. When I realized it was based on a short story that also inspired the ballet, obviously I had to read it. I'm not a fan of Where the Wild Things Are, and I wasn't too impressed with Sendak's weird Labyrinth-like tale, Outside Over There (because there was no Jareth in it, obviously). But I wanted to read this version because Auntie J said it was th The Nutcracker Prince, with Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Nutcracker, was one of my favorite childhood movies, and is still a favorite to this day. When I realized it was based on a short story that also inspired the ballet, obviously I had to read it. I'm not a fan of Where the Wild Things Are, and I wasn't too impressed with Sendak's weird Labyrinth-like tale, Outside Over There (because there was no Jareth in it, obviously). But I wanted to read this version because Auntie J said it was the best version ever. I actually read another version of this tale and was less than impressed. I figured it was just a bad translation, but this version was quite similar. The illustrations were good, but not good enough to make me swoon. The story was not quite to my taste and, in fact, a bit weird. If Marie was only seven at the beginning, how did she get betrothed at the end? She would have been eight by the time they got married. Unfortunately, I don't think I'd be a fan of this story if it weren't for the movie version I love. I'm not sure what it is about the movie that makes it so magical for me, but certainly Tchaikovsky's beautiful music used throughout doesn't hurt. Clara takes a much more active role in the narrative than the book's Marie. Also, look how adorable Nutcracker is. Yes, yes, he's supposed to be ugly. But a character voiced by Keifer Sutherland could never be ugly! I don't think I'll be seeking out any more written versions of this story, but I am interested in the ballet and other movie versions.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    I like to read lots of Christmas-y things during the Advent so I perused the internet to find „new“ things and discovered this special edition of one of THE German literary exports. Yep, you read correctly: The Nutcracker was a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann (a Prussian/German) before it ever became a Russian ballet. The tale, which is sometimes also called The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King is as well-known as it is beloved: On Christmas Eve, the siblings Marie, Louise and Fritz are anxious to be allowed I like to read lots of Christmas-y things during the Advent so I perused the internet to find „new“ things and discovered this special edition of one of THE German literary exports. Yep, you read correctly: The Nutcracker was a tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann (a Prussian/German) before it ever became a Russian ballet. The tale, which is sometimes also called The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King is as well-known as it is beloved: On Christmas Eve, the siblings Marie, Louise and Fritz are anxious to be allowed into the parlour to see their gifts (Germans open the present on Christmas Eve). Their godfather, a clockmaker, has made them a mechanical/clockwork castle complete with moving mechanical people. Sadly, the kids quickly tire of their new toy and Marie falls in love with the family's nutcracker (which her brother breaks soon after). Soon, it's time for bed and mysterious changes beset the children's toys. But not only are they coming to life, mice also begin to come out from beneath the floor boards, including the seven-headed Mouse King! Thus begins a fantastical adventure, including a tale within the tale, that takes place over the course of more than just one night (most movie adaptations get that completely wrong). What makes this edition so special are Sanna Annukka’s illustrations: A modern take (which usually fails to enchant me), but like I said in my other review, I found myself enjoying a fresh look and it really did fit nicely with the tale itself and brought this adventure to life in a wonderfully atmospheric way. If you haven’t read this (either alone or with your kid), go correct that. Because this really is one of those stories that ARE Christmas.

  13. 4 out of 5

    dely

    Till now I've liked everything I've read by ETA Hoffmann and I don't understand why he isn't more known and read, seen also that he is important in literature seen that several important and more famous authors took inspiration from his works. What I above all like is his skill to mix magic, fantasy and reality and also a bit of creepiness. Till now in all his stories I was enraptured by this mix, that at the end I wasn't able to say what was true and what was magic. Also in this story, till the Till now I've liked everything I've read by ETA Hoffmann and I don't understand why he isn't more known and read, seen also that he is important in literature seen that several important and more famous authors took inspiration from his works. What I above all like is his skill to mix magic, fantasy and reality and also a bit of creepiness. Till now in all his stories I was enraptured by this mix, that at the end I wasn't able to say what was true and what was magic. Also in this story, till the end I didn't know if Marie really lived everything or if she only dreamt about it. To be honest, I didn't worry about it because thanks to Hoffmann's skill, the dreamy kid that is in me came out, so I absolutely believed Marie's story. I think that the important thing reading such stories, isn't that they have to be real, but realistic though weird things happen. I like it when an author has that special skill to make also weird happenings believable. Usually I don't read fantasy, but Hoffmann is one of those authors that make me enjoy also genres I never read because he makes fantasy become real. His stories start with realism and only later he adds some magic inside. This isn't only a story for children, also an adult may enjoy it. And I don't think it's a Christmas story though the events happen during Christmas time; in my opinion some parts are maybe a little bit too dark to be read during Christmas. Only 4 stars and not 5 because of the end: (view spoiler)[I was sure that Marie was a child, 7 or so years old, so I don't understand how it's possible that at the end she gets betrothed. I don't think that all those years passed, but only a few weeks from the beginning of the story. (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Camilla

    4.5* Book #4 in #CramaThon2015. (Read a book under 200 pages.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tatevik

    This was a perfect treat for me this morning. I read the story, but the audiobook version was a totally new experience. I loved the narrator, and the Tchaikovsky's music completed the perfect image of the book. If you want to read this book, definitely try the audiobook version. You won't regret it! This was a perfect treat for me this morning. I read the story, but the audiobook version was a totally new experience. I loved the narrator, and the Tchaikovsky's music completed the perfect image of the book. If you want to read this book, definitely try the audiobook version. You won't regret it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessaka

    I read this book years ago, but since I am reviewing Christmas books that I am reading this year, I have added this. Back in the 1970s my friend Cathy took me and her grandmother to see The Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my Christmas and many to come. We did a lot of Christmas things when I lived in Berkeley. San Francisco was always great for looking in store windows to see the old fashion Christmas displays and Union Square was always lit up. And then we enjoyed the I read this book years ago, but since I am reviewing Christmas books that I am reading this year, I have added this. Back in the 1970s my friend Cathy took me and her grandmother to see The Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my Christmas and many to come. We did a lot of Christmas things when I lived in Berkeley. San Francisco was always great for looking in store windows to see the old fashion Christmas displays and Union Square was always lit up. And then we enjoyed the Dunsmuir Mansion in Oakland where they had the house all decorated and a Christmas craft fair on the grounds. I miss those things. But where I live at least we have the Thompson House where they have a craft fair every year and homemade cookies, candy, and breads.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I love my edition with its wonderful introduction and Maurice Sendak illustrations. I love the music and the dancing that is the ballet. But there is something about this story that always creeps me out. It is not the many headed mouse king. No, its the whole ending bit. The story is about girl growing up, to a degree, except that it is rather strange because when she travel with her dream prince she dreams of a place any child would want. Than all of a sudden she is getting married to a little I love my edition with its wonderful introduction and Maurice Sendak illustrations. I love the music and the dancing that is the ballet. But there is something about this story that always creeps me out. It is not the many headed mouse king. No, its the whole ending bit. The story is about girl growing up, to a degree, except that it is rather strange because when she travel with her dream prince she dreams of a place any child would want. Than all of a sudden she is getting married to a little man. It's kinda freaky. The ballet does it better. But it show has some beautiful art.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nostalgia Reader

    4.5 stars. December 2017: I love all the imagery this brings to mind <3 The story-ception of this all really stood out to me this time, and how there are at least three worlds that are parallel, which definitely lends itself to symbolic analysis eventually. It can be sort of choppy and confusing at points, but that only adds to the weirdness of it all. I still remain convinced that Baum was slightly inspired by this for the Oz stories; this time around, in addition to seeing the fairyland as a jur 4.5 stars. December 2017: I love all the imagery this brings to mind <3 The story-ception of this all really stood out to me this time, and how there are at least three worlds that are parallel, which definitely lends itself to symbolic analysis eventually. It can be sort of choppy and confusing at points, but that only adds to the weirdness of it all. I still remain convinced that Baum was slightly inspired by this for the Oz stories; this time around, in addition to seeing the fairyland as a jurisdiction of Oz as before, I pictured the Princess Pirlipat after her transformation as a Scoodler. December 2016: A very lovely story. I loved the settings, the characters, and the surrealiness of it all--subtle enough to not be overly creepy, but certainly enough to warrant the term. I had never seen any adaptation of this before reading it, so I had no preconceived imagery in my head; and for that reason, I don't think I would ever want to see any adaptation of it (especially since it seems like that has been toned down from this version). The emphasis on having an imaginary world that you can escape to and create vivid stories about in your spare time is lovely. A story I can definitely see myself rereading every Christmas. (This rating & review is specifically for E.T.A. Hoffman's Nutcracker and Mouse King, translated by Joachim Neugroschel. See here for my review of Alexandre Dumas' adaptation, and here for the review of the Penguin Classics combo edition, which contains Neugroschel's translation of both versions.)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jalilah

    While reading this for a Yule themed group read in the Into the Forest group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... I realised that I had never actually read this original version! I was surprised to find that it's much darker and creepier than the ballet. I then discovered that the ballet is actually based on a short story written by Alexandre Dumas! I can't give a book where mice play such a large role more than 3 stars, but regardless this book is interesting to read if you're interested in While reading this for a Yule themed group read in the Into the Forest group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/... I realised that I had never actually read this original version! I was surprised to find that it's much darker and creepier than the ballet. I then discovered that the ballet is actually based on a short story written by Alexandre Dumas! I can't give a book where mice play such a large role more than 3 stars, but regardless this book is interesting to read if you're interested in knowing some background history of the Nutcracker ballet.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    A beautiful book to read and to look at. There is more to the story than the ballet. A classic that I have never read before -- highly recommended, especially at Christmas.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vera

    Oh lovely, lovely! I had no idea that the famous Tchaikovsky ballet was actually based on an adaption of Alexandre Dumas' (!) adaption of this fairytale by Hoffmann, neither did I have the slightest clue that Hoffmann wrote a fairytale like this; since so far I had only read his 'Nachtstücke' including The Sandman, as well as some other weird tales. The story follows seven-year-old Marie, who is given a wooden (though not very pretty looking) nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer for Christ Oh lovely, lovely! I had no idea that the famous Tchaikovsky ballet was actually based on an adaption of Alexandre Dumas' (!) adaption of this fairytale by Hoffmann, neither did I have the slightest clue that Hoffmann wrote a fairytale like this; since so far I had only read his 'Nachtstücke' including The Sandman, as well as some other weird tales. The story follows seven-year-old Marie, who is given a wooden (though not very pretty looking) nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer for Christmas. That night, she dreams of a battle between the nutcracker and the seven-headed mouse king. The next days, Godfather Drosselmeyer tells her a tale of how the nutcracker, who was a beautiful boy one day, got his ugly appearance by a spell cast on him by the mother of the mouse king. Grown to love her nutcracker dearly, Marie is determined to help him defeat the evil mouse king and break the spell that made him ugly. She provides him with the sword he needs to slaughter the mouse king and does so. Then, the nutcracker takes Marie to a wonderful fairyland, 'the doll kingdom', with sugared houses, lemonade flows and an almond milk lake. Marie promises to marry the nutcracker, he then turns into his own beautiful self, and she becomes queen of the doll kingdom. Now isn't that cute? Hoffmann uses the loveliest language to describe everything, I could almost see myself walking through the sugary and colorful doll kingdom. I loved everything Maries little brother Fritz did and said - but in German it's much funnier than in the English translation. »Das ist ein einfältiger dummer Bursche«, sprach Fritz. »Will Nußknacker sein und hat kein ordentliches Gebiß – mag wohl auch sein Handwerk gar nicht verstehn. Hihi! I enjoyed the hidden note on children's imagination, that gives the impression that the novella is also intended for adult readers, as children aren't supposed, I guess, to understand what the nutcracker means in the following situation. When Marie and the nutcracker are walking through the doll kingdom, Marie sees a beautiful lake with silver swans, for which she had wished to be made by her godfather Drosselmeyer, and cries that she is delighted to see he has indeed manufactured it: 'That is something that your uncle can never bring about; much rather yourself, dear Miss Stahlbaum, but let’s not bother our heads about it, but take the boat across the Lake of Roses to the capital'. This novella is so lovely because it enables one to lose oneself in a world of imagination. I'd like to quote Albert Einstein here, who wisely said: 'Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited'.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    A fitting kick off for the December reading. The pace of the book is quite slow and uneven, at 100 pages it felt quite long and didn’t suck you into the story. The fairytale is a bit darker than Disney or other adaptations want you to believe, with a seven headed horror mouse who threatens to chew up a little girl, Drosselmeier as a rather ambiguous and not overly kind godfather (and covert royal clockworker) and real glasscuts and injuries. In the end the moral of the story is you (or at least A fitting kick off for the December reading. The pace of the book is quite slow and uneven, at 100 pages it felt quite long and didn’t suck you into the story. The fairytale is a bit darker than Disney or other adaptations want you to believe, with a seven headed horror mouse who threatens to chew up a little girl, Drosselmeier as a rather ambiguous and not overly kind godfather (and covert royal clockworker) and real glasscuts and injuries. In the end the moral of the story is you (or at least if you are a girl or a princess) should not judge people based on their apearances; in that sense it is funny that the illustrations in the edition I read, from Sanna Annukka, were so beautiful that they tipped my rating from a two to a three star book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Suvi

    Let's return to Christmas time for a moment with the last book I read in 2016 (while my dad was suffering from influenza, and I myself had a cold and was in bed throughout Christmas with chocolate pralines, so perfect time for something light), and the last book from that year I'm going to review. The story of the Nutcracker is best known as the Tchaikovsky ballet, which in turn is based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of Hoffmann's story. The ballet's gorgeous music and the beautiful sets Let's return to Christmas time for a moment with the last book I read in 2016 (while my dad was suffering from influenza, and I myself had a cold and was in bed throughout Christmas with chocolate pralines, so perfect time for something light), and the last book from that year I'm going to review. The story of the Nutcracker is best known as the Tchaikovsky ballet, which in turn is based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of Hoffmann's story. The ballet's gorgeous music and the beautiful sets and costumes bring just the right kind of magic to Christmas, which I think is what many traditionally-inclined Christmas lovers need at that time of the year. Hoffmann's story is magical as well. Even though the ballet is great in many ways and the Christmas magic is unrivalled, it kind of grows old really quickly if you watch a lot of similar productions. Sometimes it seems a bit stretched as well, and compared with the original story, almost too straightforward. I read the newest English translation by Ralph Manheim, and I have no complaints there (I occasionally like to read aloud whenever I'm reading nonfiction or a children's book in English, so I often gravitate towards the English translation/edition even when there's a Finnish one available). The illustrations are by Maurice Sendak (who also created the sets and costumes for the 1983 Seattle production). At first glance Sendak's pictures are pretty and just the right kind of traditional I usually like, but they started to seem a bit flat at one point. I love Tove Jansson's black and white Moomin illustrations and Rudolf Koivu's atmospheric works, but at least in Nutcracker Sendak's illustrations seem a bit lifeless. Maybe I'm thinking this too much, but they're just not something I'd expect to see in a German children's classic. You see, Hoffmann's Nutcracker also has darker tones. It's not a colorful marshmallowy story, but occasionally it crunches like brittle between your teeth. The joy of getting presents each more gorgeous than the other turns into a bloody battle between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King. Marie's dreamlike adventures draw you into a fairy tale land that isn't simplistically innocent, but has also cracks and faults. It's a world where mice threaten to bite a baby in half and a creepy dude with a sweet tooth comes to chew your marzipan house to pieces. So, when next Christmas the roofs are (hopefully) covered in snow and silence descends, make a cup of hot cocoa and sink into the depths of your arm chair. The Nutcracker is waiting on the pages for the next Marie. "The children must have been especially well behaved that year, for they had never before received so many splendid presents. The big Christmas tree in the middle of the room was decorated with any number of gold and silver apples, and sugared almonds, bright-colored candles, and goodies of all kinds shaped like buds and blossoms hung from every branch. But the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundred of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Classic reverie

    All my life I heard about "The Nutcracker" but never really knew anything about it and certainly never heard of E.T.A. Hoffmann, though since coming to Goodreads, I have other stories of his on my list. Let me explain, during Christmastime when I was really little, I saw the store versions placed around the stores but we never owned one. I also knew there was a play; I have heard some of the music but I never saw the play or read this story. So when I saw this with some other Christmas offerings All my life I heard about "The Nutcracker" but never really knew anything about it and certainly never heard of E.T.A. Hoffmann, though since coming to Goodreads, I have other stories of his on my list. Let me explain, during Christmastime when I was really little, I saw the store versions placed around the stores but we never owned one. I also knew there was a play; I have heard some of the music but I never saw the play or read this story. So when I saw this with some other Christmas offerings from Kindle last year, I planned on reading them in 2018. I love the covers that Penguin Books have to these stories which the artist portrays birds. So going into this quite blind and quite older, I really did not know what to expect. I started thinking okay but by the time I was finished I loved this story of Marie and The Nutcracker. I soon knew about the Mouse King and all the fantasy world or is it really to Marie. It brought all the tales within this story together and made it quite a charming romantic Christmas read, that after I was done I see why it has become a classic. There is something in here for both boys, girls and especially adults who like to wonder. The moral lessons are there but the story is what carries me away to Marie's home and the glass cabinet and the tale told. If you have never read this before you might want to give it a try! 🎄💟🎄💖🎄

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    My mom and I used to see this ballet nearly every winter, but I'd never read the original story. I loved seeing Sendak's illustrations accompanying it, and if I see the ballet again I'll have a thorough understanding of the backstory! My mom and I used to see this ballet nearly every winter, but I'd never read the original story. I loved seeing Sendak's illustrations accompanying it, and if I see the ballet again I'll have a thorough understanding of the backstory!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I love the ballet and now I love the book too. Magical.

  27. 5 out of 5

    TraceyL

    This story is just ok. It has inspired many many adaptions which are better than the original. I don't have any childhood connection to the Nutcracker so I don't have the same nostalgia others do. I'm glad I read it once but I wouldn't read it again. This story is just ok. It has inspired many many adaptions which are better than the original. I don't have any childhood connection to the Nutcracker so I don't have the same nostalgia others do. I'm glad I read it once but I wouldn't read it again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Justine

    “Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially.” Enjoyment Rate - 62% Story - 14% Characters - 6% Total - 82% Rating - ★★★★☆ What a more perfect time to read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker than in Christmas Eve? I am so glad I decided to read this right before Christmas because it certainly adds to the experience and it did improve my festive mood. I enjoyed reading this book and I flew through it in one sitting. I have not watched the film or the ballet “Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially.” Enjoyment Rate - 62% Story - 14% Characters - 6% Total - 82% Rating - ★★★★☆ What a more perfect time to read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker than in Christmas Eve? I am so glad I decided to read this right before Christmas because it certainly adds to the experience and it did improve my festive mood. I enjoyed reading this book and I flew through it in one sitting. I have not watched the film or the ballet performance, but based from what I have read, I think I might check it out. Knowing how the book goes, I cannot help but be intrigued on how they managed to bring the story to life because the book was, if I have to summarize it one word, magical. I like the writing of the author, how it seems like he is actually telling the story to me, and that definitely contributed to the whole experience. It was as if he’s my grandpa telling me the story in a cozy sofa near a fireplace. It was so atmospheric and although it seems childish at some point, I still had a great time reading it. It’s not that long so you can read it one once sitting. I recommend reading this while snowing, inside your living room near a fireplace (if you have one), snuggled up in a blanket with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies. Ugh I wish it snowed here just so I can do that. The story itself isn’t mind-blowing perse, and the characters are not the ones you get attached to, but it’s more about the experience you have while reading such a delightful story.All throughout reading the book, I cannot help but smile on how pure and genuine the story was. It warms your heart and for my experience, it brought out the nostalgia of how fun it was when you are still a child. I miss being a child, not having to worry about the real stresses of life. Yes it’s a children’s book, but I honestly recommend it to every adult out there, especially this Christmas Time because it will hopefully touch your heart the same way it did to me. Just ignore the fact that the story was about a doll who came to life at night when everyone else is asleep, because honestly now that I think of it, that would seem like a good plot to a 90s horror film. But believe me when I say it was anything but that haha. It was great and it was easily one of the best reads I had this year.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This is my second time reading this book. I read if for school in 6th grade, all the 6th grade English classes read it and then we got to go see a production of the Ballet. This is one of my favorite stories and definitely my favorite ballet. I enjoyed rereading this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    jade

    “The huge fir tree in the center carried many gold and silver apples, and, like buds and blossoms, the sugared almonds and colorful bonbons and goodness knows what other tidbits emerged from all the branches.” Finally! After years of admiring The Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky in theatres and getting my hands on Alexandre Dumas’ version of everybody’s favorite Christmas tale last year, I finally had the pleasure of reading the original E.T.A. Hoffmann fairy tale this year. I remember being “The huge fir tree in the center carried many gold and silver apples, and, like buds and blossoms, the sugared almonds and colorful bonbons and goodness knows what other tidbits emerged from all the branches.” Finally! After years of admiring The Nutcracker ballet by Tchaikovsky in theatres and getting my hands on Alexandre Dumas’ version of everybody’s favorite Christmas tale last year, I finally had the pleasure of reading the original E.T.A. Hoffmann fairy tale this year. I remember being a little disappointed by the Dumas version, mainly because it felt quite childish and jumbled/disjointed to me, and having now read them both, I can say that I infinitely prefer the Hoffmann version. (Even though this particular Hoffman version has a worse translator than the Dumas version I read.) And now I also understand why changes were made to the ballet to such a degree; the pacing in both versions is rather awful, as well as some details being a bit off (such as Marie being eight years old when she marries her trusty Nutcracker). That said, this has to be the ultimate Christmas fairy tale. The way the children’s wonderment at the holiday is described; their desire for their presents, their excitement at all the prospects that the holiday brings, all of it is ultimately delightful. The magic of their eccentric but talented Uncle Drosselmeier, and the way kids are sometimes just kids and blurt out weird things (both Marie and her brother Fritz). And gosh, Hoffmann really shines in his descriptions of the decorated house, the children’s toys and presents, and of course, later on in the story – all the beautiful details of the forests, villages, and landscapes that are made of candy and other treats. It’s beautiful and enchanting, and written in a way that’s engaging both for adults and a younger audience (compared to the Dumas version, which felt more childish to me). It’s not that much darker than the ballet, and pretty tame for a fairy tale anyhow (considering the league of villainous characters usually running around in fairy tales and the like). The mouse queen and her seven sons, later reincarnated through a mouse king with seven heads, give a nice edge to the story, though it’s a pity that we never really see the Nutcracker kill his nemesis on screen – another thing that makes the pacing a little awkward. Do you like the ballet? Do you like Christmas? Even better, do you like Christmas fairy tales? Then this one’s for you. It’s atmospheric, lives and breathes the Christmas spirit, and manages to tell a cute story with a sweet hero and heroine amongst it all.

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