The Nutcracker Ballet by Aleksandra

What It Is

This new release is a picture book adaptation of the classical ballet, “The Nutcracker.” The traditional story has been abridged, and the authors have added a feature that is designed to stimulate conversation between parents and children on the themes within the story. With that in mind, the book has been designed for co-reading the story, and adults are encouraged to open dialogue with their children about various character building themes, including manners, showing respect and helping others, among others. This can help young people to appreciate and understand the story on a deeper level, whether or not they are going to see the ballet live. And, since this is about a ballet, the book also includes a glossary of common theatrical vocabulary at the end, which helps kids feel a little like “insiders” as well.

Why It’s Fun

During the holidays, many families go to see a version of “The Nutcracker,” danced by a major ballet company or local dance school. This book is a great choice when introducing the story to young kids prior to the performance in a narrative format that is easy for them to understand. In addition, “The Nutcracker” imagery and characters, especially Herr Drosselmeyer and the mice, can often frighten children, but this version’s non-threatening illustrations should appeal to kids as young as preschoolers. The themes and values prompts provide a nice opportunity for parents and caregivers to discuss some important life lessons with a classic story as a backdrop. The illustrations are not “holiday heavy,” which make the book appealing to read throughout the year.

Who’s Going To Love It

This version is definitely geared to children aged 3 to 6 and is a great “first Nutcracker” book. Of course, what gets lost in any reading of “The Nutcracker” is the beautiful music, spectacular costumes and graceful dance. However, when kids know the basic story prior to viewing the theatrical version, they can focus on the experience of a live performance. This book is one of a series of ballet adaptions by Ms. Afimova and is available at if you can’t find it in your local bookstore or library.

Reading Time

About 6-7 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

8 out of 10

Book Information

By: Adapted by Aleksandra Efimova; Illustrations by Elizaveta Efimova
Published by: Orchid Publishing (2011)
Approximate retail price: $19.95
Publisher’s recommended ages: 2 - 6


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