By: James Mahew
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series
Publication Date: October 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: August 27, 2012
Madame Rosa's ballet class peered out a domed window and watched as snowflakes began to fall to the ground. It was almost time for class and the girls moved away from the window to cluster around the Christmas tree. Madame Rosa declared, "It's the perfect weather for today's lesson." It was indeed and when she opened her special music box they saw a dainty ballerina with a pink tutu. All the girls began to dance along with her when the music began. Ella Bella's eyes widened and she pursed her mouth when she heard the music from The Nutcracker.
Ella Bella wanted to know if the music was about snowflakes, but Madame Rosa explained that is was also about "toys and fairies and even sweets, too." All the little ballerinas wanted to hear more about the story, but it was time for their big surprise party. Ella Bella was sent to fetch the music box, but when she went back to the tree she couldn't resist listening and dancing to its enchanting music. All of a sudden she noticed a strange girl sleeping beneath the Christmas tree. The princess-like girl was holding a wooden nutcracker. When Clara opened her eyes a magical adventure began!
This marvelously adventurous tale of Ella Bella, Clara, and the wooden Nutcracker will enchant young readers. I loved the easy, beautiful flow of this magical tale and enjoyed the innocence of little Ella Bella as she travels with Clara. It does not replicate Hoffman's The Nutcracker and the King of Mice, but rather gives it a delightful modern twist. The inimitable Mayhew artwork sparkles, twinkles, and shines as it elicits the innocent charm of the young dancers as they dance through these pages. In the back of the book is an overview of the ballet, including vignettes about Hoffman, Tchaikovsky, and the performance.
Quill says: This is the perfect book for any little ballerina, especially if they just happened to be named Ella!