By: Keith Brockett
Illustrated by: Joseph Cowman
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: September 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 16, 2015
A well-lit theater looked down upon a sleepy, snowy little town. Wreaths hung from the lamp posts and colored lights twinkled along the eaves of the houses. It was as if the town was waiting for the big event and indeed it was because it was opening night for “The Nutcracker.” It was a doubly special night because it was also Christmas Eve and Santa would soon be on his way! All was well...almost. At the theater things began to go wrong, disastrous actually.
Things just seemed to go from bad to worse as the day progressed. “The programs had come from the printer that day / with titles misspelled, ‘The Nutsnacker’ Ballet. / The error was funny and might have amused, / if not for those programs that couldn’t be used.” The stagehands were sick, the spotlight had tumbled to the floor, and the theater cat had ripped up the tulle skirts. Of course without skirts the Snowflakes and Flowers couldn’t perform and they all began to cry.
All the sparkle and glittery gems had fallen off the tutus and it looked like a pair of mice were stealing a sword. “But worse was to come. With a crash! And a yell! / The Christmas tree used in the party scene fell! / Its ornaments shattered across the stage floor / and none of its lights would light up anymore.” Even the Mouse King was missing. The little snow-covered town was going to be sorely disappointed if the show didn’t go on. Could anything be done to save the theater from the worst disaster ever?
Similar to many Christmas tales, this one is adapted from Clement C. Moore’s poem, Twas the Night Before Christmas. Indeed it was a disaster in the making at the little theater that young children will find amusing, especially those who love ballet. I loved the rhyming scheme, one that’s so difficult to do well. The touches of humor, both in the verse and the artwork are totally charming. Every turn of the page finds yet another disaster that will delight. In the back of the book is a glossary of ballet and theater terms and a brief overview of “The Nutcracker” Ballet.
Quill says: A very unique and fun tale that will amuse even the most curmudgeonly person!