It has been an interesting thing to read and watch different versions of The Nutcracker. My kids are learning that a story can have countless variations. Different characters may appear or be left out, the setting or mood may change, the emphasis of the story may vary—but the story is still recognizable as “The Nutcracker”. The idea that an author or artist or choreographer can make the story their own is a powerful one. The idea that there is more to the creative process than making something new, that you can layer your own insights and ideas over the frame of a well-known story, opens up a whole new world.
At the risk of over-saturating your holidays with Nutcrackers, I thought I’d continue what I started Wednesday and offer a few more variations on a theme.
Picture book retellings of the story:
The Nutcrackerby Susan Jeffers, Harper Collins Publishers, 2007
This retelling is from the ballet, and many of the illustrations make you feel like you are on stage with the dancers, a perspective I sometimes found myself wishing for when I had to sit at the back of an auditorium.
Nutcracker Balletby Vladimir Vagin, Scholastic, 1995
This is another retelling from the ballet, although I recognized more elements from E.T.A. Hoffman's story, and the pictures alternate between stage settings and a more fairytale-like setting.