Reviews for Nutcracker
Booklist Reviews 2004 October #1
Reviewed with Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid.Gr. 3-5. Artist Zwerger expands her repertoire of beguilingly illustrated tales by two, both of which contain surprises for readers primarily familiar with popular film or stage versions. Mermaid reinstates the tragic ending and spiritual-mystical components abandoned by Disney; nutcracker, though condensed by adaptor Susanne Koppe, preserves the Mouse King's seven heads and devotes a good chunk of the narrative (as in Hoffman's original) to the story-within-a-story starring Princess Pirlipat. The hypnotic, even slightly chilly, sensibility that pervades Zwerger's work seems a more logical accompaniment to the poignant Mermaid than to nutcracker, whose spirited fantasy seems somehow dampened by the artist's penchant for quiet, dimly lit scenes and slightly arcane imagery. Zwerger first illustrated The Nutcracker and the Mouse King in 1979, but has created entirely new paintings this time around, which will compete for balletomanes' attention with Sendak's lengthier, more rambunctious 1981 treatment. These renditions of cherished stories will prove useful in the coming months, as the 200th anniversary of Andersen's birth approaches and as ballet companies commence their annual march to the Kingdom of Sweets. ((Reviewed October 1, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Spring
Devotees of the ballet version may be surprised by the layers of fantasy and reality in this skillful distillation of the much longer original story. Zwerger's elegant full-page watercolors capture the tone of the story, and her uncluttered compositions focus on specific characters and objects, rewarding the careful observer with details that foreshadow and illuminate the multifaceted story. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #6
Devotees of the ballet version may be surprised by the layers of fantasy and reality in this skillful distillation of the much longer original story. Marie's favorite Christmas gift is a nutcracker shaped like an ugly little man. When she witnesses a fantastic midnight battle between mice and toy soldiers, her parents dismiss it as feverish delirium, but clever, mysterious Godfather Drosselmeier encourages her, incorporating Marie's adventures into his own stories and hinting that she is on the verge of breaking the spell that turned his handsome young nephew into the homely nutcracker. Zwerger's elegant full-page watercolors capture the tone of the story without catering to the more familiar ballet-stage elements. Her uncluttered compositions focus on specific characters and objects, rewarding the careful observer with details that foreshadow and illuminate the multifaceted story. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2004 September #4
Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman's fantasy about a warring seven-headed Rat King and Nutcracker, toys come to life and mesmerizing lands made of candy, retains its bite in a new picture-book abridgement with illustrations by Lisbeth Zwerger, retold by Susanne Koppe, trans. from the German by Anthea Bell. The gracefully composed watercolors in this new edition refrain from the frolic and whimsy she exhibited with the artwork for a 1979 edition of The Nutcracker, but possess dreamlike flair nonetheless. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2004 October
Gr 4-8-After illustrating The Nutcracker and the Mouse-King (Picture Book Studio, 1983; o.p.), Zwerger has taken on the challenge of creating a completely different set of images almost a quarter century later. She has succeeded admirably. This version features somewhat surreal, almost theatrically presented tableaux, delicately and darkly rendered in pen and ink and watercolor. Readers are far removed from the action-sometimes back in the nosebleed section, as opposed to the earlier edition, in which readers were right in the middle of everything. The 2004 Marie is a china doll of a girl, unlike the more realistically presented character of the past. This would be a hard version to share with a group, though Koppe's retelling is more accessible and detailed than the earlier title. This Nutcracker dramatically illustrates the growth and evolution of an important illustrator.-M. A. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.