Saturday, January 12, 2013

Nutcracker by E.T.A. Hoffmann and Maurice Sendak

What a beautiful book...seriously, a book this beautiful hasn't arrived on my doorstep for review in a long time and I am so grateful to The Crown Publishing Group for asking me to review it.

I have always been fascinated with this story as most people have and have been in awe of the storytelling present between the covers.  It is no wonder that this story has been adapted so many times in so many different ways.

About the Book:

"A classic, new and complete. One of the ten best illustrated children's books of the year."
-- New York Times Book Review

The tale of Nutcracker, written by E.T.A. Hoffmann in 1816, has fascinated and inspired artists, composers, and audiences for almost two hundred years. It has retained its freshness because it appeals to the sense of wonder we all share.

Maurice Sendak designed brilliant sets and costumes for the Pacific Northwest Ballet's Christmas production of Nutcracker and created even more magnificent pictures especially for this book. He joined with the eminent translator Ralph Manheim to produce this illustrated edition of Hoffmann's wonderful tale, destined to become a classic for all ages.

The world of Nutcracker is a world of pleasures. Maurice Sendak's art illuminates the delights of Hoffmann's story in this rich and tantalizing treasure.

About the Authors:

Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, better known by his pen name E.T.A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist. He is the subject and hero of Jacques Offenbach's famous but fictional opera The Tales of Hoffmann, and the author of the novelette The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, on which the famous ballet The Nutcracker is based. The ballet Coppelia is based on two other stories that Hoffmann wrote.

Hoffmann's stories were very influential during the 19th century, and he is one of the major authors of the Romantic movement.

Maurice Bernard Sendak is an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. An elementary school (from kindergarten to grade five) in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s working as an artist for children's books, before beginning to write his own stories.

My Thoughts:

Not only do I adore this book, I am so amazed by how beautiful the illustrations are.  When this first arrived my only thought was how beautiful it would be on a coffee table for the Christmas holidays.  How the beautiful cover and illustrations inside would beckon those who saw it to pick it up and flip through the pages.  

Aside from its beauty, this type of writing just doesn't exist least not in my opinion.  This is what makes a classic earn that honor - they are timeless and no matter what century you pick it up in, it applies to and amazes you as a reader.  I love this story, and this adaptation of it brings it right back to life for me.  
Everyone should own and read at least once this story, and I can see it being a real treasured read for my kids.  

1 comment: