Story Orchestra: The Nutcracker Book

Clearly meant to introduce the ballet based on Hoffmann's classic story, this inviting adaptation instructs readers to press a musical note on each page in order to hear an enlivening snippet of Tchaikovsky's music. While Clara impatiently awaits the arrival of her toymaker godfather, guests of varying ages and ethnicities, attired in 19th-century styles, are enjoying the festive Christmas party hosted by her parents. The vibrant illustrations are in a polished cartoon style reminiscent of early animated Disney films, with the text attractively set apart from the richly detailed visuals, encircled by colorful shapes, flowers, or wreath-like designs. Clara's fantastical dreams never seem too busy or overcrowded, and are, again, populated with diverse figures. Back matter includes a brief overview of Tchaikovsky and a glossary of musical terms. Buttons for the 10 selections used throughout are together on the final page, along with orchestral information. Readers are encouraged to let the music inspire their own theatrical creativity. VERDICT Any disruption to the perceived tranquility of the library atmosphere due to the audio component of this book will be offset by the information gleaned and the jump-start it provides to the imagination of its readers.—Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library

**This interactive book is a classic introducing children to the beauty of music and dance. Simply pressing the areas on the page introduces the vivid sound of the orchestra playing Tchaikovsky’s score.**

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