And it would always be incomplete without The Nutcracker.
Two beautiful new books celebrate 200 years since the first publication of Hoffman’s story and the exquisite 1954 rendition of the ballet from George Balanchine for the New York City Ballet.
The Nutcracker – Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann
Illustrated by Robert Ingpen
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $39.99
New Zealand RRP: $44.99
Hoffman’s original German publication has rarely been translated in full to English but this new bicentennial edition celebrates that first publication ably translated by Anthea Bell.
Of course Hoffman’s story remains timeless and is arguably most famous for being the inspiration for Tchaikovsky’s much-loved ballet, performed all over the world and especially as part of the traditional Christmas festivities.
For me the real highlight of this volume is it’s continuation of the Illustrated Children’s Classics series, with the absolutely superb illustrations of [Australian] Robert Ingpen.
I know that many have their favourites in this series – mine: Treasure Island and The Jungle Book – but the exquisitely detailed artwork ensure this will be a sought after volume for those who both love the story, Ingpen’s magnificent work and of course the ballet.
If you are looking for a special gift for a lover of any of these, this is the book for you.
If you are especially seeking the perfect present for a ballet lover then make sure you also buy the next book in this review.
The Nutcracker – The New York City Ballet: Illustrated by Valeria Docampo
Simon & Schuster Children’s UK |
ISBN 9781471161162 |
The NYC Ballet is well known both for bringing the story of ballet to young readers and for its outstanding production of The Nutcracker. The company’s performance of this ballet is considered the penultimate around the world. In 1948 George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirsten founded the company and Balanchine’s ‘quintessential’ production of The Nutcracker remains the benchmark for all others.
The storyline follows the choreography of the ballet and the illustrations are based on the actual sets and costumes of the production. For young (or old) readers this will be a virtual attendance at the performance so loved by so many.
For all the ballet dancers or those who love the ballet, this would make a beautiful Christmas present.
Now that school holidays have arrived, I will be spending time catching up with piles and piles of review books. Some will be posted during the holidays, others scheduled for the new school year.
In the meantime, I wish you all and your families a safe and super festive season, from me and mine.