Friday, January 9, 2015

The Nutcracker


Maria Stahlbaum and her siblings receive a Nutcracker for Christmas. Maria immediately loves it, and treats it with great care. While playing with him late at night, Maria is shown a world where the mice come out and attack the toys, and the Nutcracker leads the defence against them. Her godfather Drosselmeyer tells her the tale of The Hard Nut, which explains the Nutcracker's story before he came to Maria. Maria continues to adventure in the fantasy world of the Nutcracker.

This is a fun Christmas tale. I have read Andersen's version and enjoyed it, so I was curious to discover how Hoffman expanded on the story. I thought it was well done, and a really good Christmas tale to get in the holiday mood. I liked the darkness of the tale, but it is not too dark for kids. I liked the tale of The Hard Nut to explain how the Nutcracker came to be in his current form. It is an interesting story, and one both adults and children will enjoy.

Sendak's illustrations enhance the story. I would have liked more pictures to help envision Candy Town and the magical journey, but I still liked what was included. I liked that Sendak included one of his monsters peeking out in one of the pictures. That was fun thing to include for fans of Where The Wild Things Are.

This is the eighth book the Bookworms read together. We chose this book together because we wanted a book to read that went with the holidays. It was a classic tale, and none of us had read this version before, so it was a new book for all of us. We had a lot of fun with it. We were also happy with this meeting because it was our first in person meeting for the book club. We focused more on the activities because we were excited to be together. Here are some of the Bookworms' thoughts on the book, warning, there may be some spoilers:

Q&A With The Bookworms Book Club

How many stars out of 5 would you give this book?
Paige 5
Alejandro 5 It was awesome, I want to read it again!

What did you like about this book?
Paige I don't know, it's hard to choose. I liked all of it.
Alejandro When they go to Candy Land. And everything else.

Did you see the monster from Where The Wild Things Are in one of the pictures?
Paige That's cool! I didn't see it. I want to look for it.
Alejandro Yeah, I saw it. I pointed it out when I was reading it.

What do you think about the story addressing the reader?
Both: I liked it.
Alejandro It was fun to be part of it.
Paige I thought it made it so you could imagine you were part of the story.

Had you heard of The Nutcracker before?
Alejandro I heard of the play and book but never read it before. My teacher read a shorter version to us.
Paige I didn't know about this book before.

Would you give your things away to protect someone like Marie did to protect the Nutcracker?
Paige Yes!
Alejandro I would try to make the person asking for things to go away first.

What did you think of Perlipot in The Hard Nut story?
Paige I liked it. It doesn't matter what someone looks like, what's inside is important.
Alejandro I liked when they got turned into an ugly monster.

Would you follow the Nutcracker to Candy Town?
Alejandro Of course! I would want to see where we would go.
Paige I would follow to see where he was going.

What would you do in Candy Town?
Paige I would eat candy and make a house.
Alejandro Eat candy!

What did you think of the giant who was eating Candy Town?
Alejandro I thought his picture looked like the godfather Drosselmeyer.
Paige I thought his name Sweet Tooth was funny since he was eating Candy Town.

The Nutcracker asks Marie to leave with him to return to Candy Town forever, would you stay or go?
Paige No, because I wouldn't see my family again.
Alejandro Yes, because I would want to go with the Nutcracker and see Candy Town again.

After we discussed the book we did a treasure hunt with clues that related to the story. At the end of the hunt they found Nutcrackers guarding chocolate coins and notebooks that said Bookworms to make notes about the books we read.

Thank you to Alejandro and Paige for reading this book and reviewing it with me. It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to our next book together.

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