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A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year!
This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.
In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.
This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author’s note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author’s inspiration for this musical retelling.
About the Author
T. E. McMorrow belongs to the third generation of writers in his family. A journalist and playwright, he is also a member of the Drama Desk in New York City. Many years ago, he worked as a stagehand for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, an experience that helped plant the first seeds of inspiration for this book. Mr. McMorrow splits his time between Manhattan and the East End of Long Island with his wife, Carole, and their two cats, Cinnamon and Moxie.
James Ransome has illustrated more than fifty books for children. His titles include The Creation by James Weldon Johnson, winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; Uncle Jed’s Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and My Name Is Truth: The Life of Sojourner Truth by Ann Turner. He lives in New York State and teaches illustration at Syracuse University. See more of his work at www.jamesransome.com.
“This inventive book embeds the classic holiday ballet in the elegant Harlem Renaissance world of the 1920s...[Ransome’s] rich jewel-toned art makes both indoor scenes and the New York City night vibrate with life and holiday wonder.” — New York Times Book Review
“Radiant watercolor illustrations use a palette of glowing jewel tones, especially deep blues and brilliant fuchsia for Marie’s flowing dress.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An intriguing integration of The Nutcracker’s magic into a new setting, and a welcome addition to the shelf of Nutcracker-themed picture books.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“From the dreamy, lyrical jacket illustration to the moonlit street scene to the beautifully individualized portrayals of characters in period clothing, Ransome’s deep-toned watercolor paintings bring the story and its Jazz Age background to life on the page.” — Booklist
“A familiar ballet story, reinterpreted with style.” — Booklist
“Filled with motion, emotion, and period detail, Ransome’s vivid watercolors celebrate the magic of both the fairy-tale world Marie dreams herself into and the vibrant real-life community that is eager to help her find her voice.” — Publishers Weekly
“T.E. McMorrow has breathed new life into a children’s Christmas classic... [it] begs to be on the shelves now rather than later.” — East Hampton Star
“Each page is filled with sumptuous illustrations and paintings by Mr. Ransome...” — East Hampton Star
“[McMorrow’s] well-crafted, quasi-homage to the original “Nutcracker,” together with illustrations that help the imagination run wild and the inclusive theme of Christmas magic, will be sure to provide an escape from the tedium of the imminent commercial holiday season.” — East Hampton Star
“Ransome’s watercolor illustrations enhance the story handsomely, and the author’s end note gives a brief background on the Harlem Renaissance.” — School Library Journal
“This is a fine addition to the canon of retellings of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale and the perennially favorite holiday ballet.” — School Library Journal