When I was about 8, my mother sewed a beautiful satin Christmas dress for me as well as one for my sister. As a family, we went to Chicago to watch a ballet of The Nutcracker. I have always loved the music and the story of this Christmas tradition. The Nutcracker by Michael Hague brings the story to life, basing his retelling on the E.T.A. Hoffman 1800’s story as well as the ballet.
The illustrations are rich and delicious, with so many details that multiple rereading are necessary. Or, the reader can stop and peruse each illustration as you go long. The illustrations feel realistic even while they feel fantastical. The story is unique, since Hague adapts the original Hoffman story (which I found rather boring, to be honest) with the aspects of story from the well known Tchaikovsky ballet.
I love Christmas. I love the daily reminder of Jesus Christ in the decorations and in the gift giving. But I also love the traditions of Santa Claus, the festive holiday songs, the fudge and gingerbread.
This year, I decided to immerse myself in holiday picture books. My son, at one-year-old, won’t remember a thing about this Christmas. But next year he might remember something: I want to know which picture books best bring the spirit of the season in to our home so next year we’ll be ready.