By Author / Illustrator
Katherine Woodfine, Lizzy Stewart
Simon & Schuster Ltd
This gorgeously designed retelling of The Nutcracker will make the perfect Christmas present for ballet fans everywhere!
In snow white covered St. Petersburg, young dancer Stana's dreams have finally come true - she has been chosen to play the lead role in Tchaikovsky's new ballet, The Nutcracker. But with all eyes looking at her, can Stana overcome her nerves and dance like she's never danced before?
From the author of the bestselling The Sinclair Mysteries, Katherine Woodfine, and Waterstone's Book Prize winner, Lizzy Stewart, this sumptuous and magical retelling of The Nutcracker will transport you on a journey fay beyond the page.
Praise for Katherine Woodfine's The Sinclair's Mysteries series:
'A wonderful book, with a glorious heroine and a true spirit of adventure' Katherine Rundell, award-winning author of Rooftoppers
'Dastardliness on a big scale is uncovered in this well-plotted, evocative novel' The Sunday Times
'It's a dashing plot, an atmospheric setting and an extensive and imaginative cast. Katherine Woodfine handles it all with aplomb' The Guardian
Praise for Lizzy Stewart's There's a Tiger in the Garden (Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2017, Illustrated Books Category):
'A journey of discovery' The Guardian
'A stunning testament to the power of imagination' Metro
This charming book tells the story of the Nutcracker ballet and combines history and fiction very effectively. We hear the story from the perspective of Stana, a young dancer at the Imperial Ballet School, St Petersburg. Stana is a talented girl and auditions for the leading role in a new ballet. Her feeling for the music, and imaginative expression, secures her this prestigious position. The auditions are overseen by the composer, Tchaikovsky, himself!
Stana's excitement at being selected is tempered by the jealous reaction of her best friend, Anna, who had also hoped to be chosen for the role. Not only that, Stana is very worried about her sister, Olga, who is seriously ill and in need of expensive treatment. In a way, she finds the musical score, and the dancing itself, to be a welcome escape from her anxiety about Olga. However, she also feels that if she dances well enough her sister will recover, which is a powerful motivator and a huge responsibility.
Although she receives approval from Tchaikovsky, the critical reception for the ballet is disappointingly negative. When Stana feels that nothing is working out as she would hope, she receives good news and a surprising gift, leading to a satisfying ending.
This story will be enjoyed by children reading to themselves or equally hearing it read aloud to them. The illustrations are really beautiful. They capture the movement of the dancers brilliantly and also depict the magic of the theatre, the wintry weather and dreams of a special Christmas.
It could be followed up by listening to the associated music, or by viewing the ballet on stage or screen. However, it is perfectly enjoyable in itself. Aspiring ballet dancers will find it particularly appealing.
64 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Judith Greenall, librarian
Suggested Reading Age 5+