The Nutcracker written by Margrete Lamond, illustrated by Ritva Voutila (Little Hare Books/Hardie Grant Egmont)
HB RRP $24.95
Reviewed by Liz Ledden
This beautiful reworking of the classic Hoffman’s tale, The Nutcracker, combines Lamond’s lyrical language and Voutila’s stunning illustrations to draw out the original story’s emotional heart.
Gentle, thoughtful Marie is enamoured with the carefully crafted wooden toys made by family friend Mr Drosselmeier. Her patience and appreciation of details is in contrast with the greedy, selfish nature displayed by her brother Fritz, who dismisses Marie’s enchantment with a wooden nutcracker topped with the sweet yet sad face of a boy. When he purposefully breaks it, it’s hard to not to feel for Marie as she tenderly cares for the toy and wishes he was a real boy – a friend with qualities just like hers.
The ensuing battle with the mouse king and dreamlike adventure with the nutcracker reveals Marie’s bravery and loyalty. Readers are transported on a wondrous journey, where Marie finds someone who loves to ‘delight and dawdle’ as much as she does.
The much longer word count than most picture books will suit the attention spans of school aged children, particularly those around the seven mark. This is a ‘forever’ kind of book with major shelf display appeal – a timeless classic to be treasured and passed down to the next generation.