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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Nutcracker (The) - Zwerger
by E.T.A. Hoffmann (1776-1822)
Age Range: 9-11
Thanks to Tchaikovsky’s ballet, The Nutcracker is one of the best known stories of world literature. However, few people realise that the ballet is actually an expansion of one small section of the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann that was first published in 1819.
One Christmas Eve, Herr Drosselmeyer, a maker of magical toys, gives his goddaughter Marie a nutcracker. Later that night, Marie creeps downstairs to retrieve it from under the tree, but she falls asleep and is transported into another world, where her nutcracker takes on a human form and she finds herself in the midst of a strange adventure.
Anthea Bell has created a thoroughly faithful version in English which is enlivened by Lisbeth Zerger’s evocative illustrations. The delicate pen-and-ink illustrations in vibrant colour make this a beautiful edition of a timeless story to treasure for life.