Our fourth book of the 25 Days of Christmas Books is a classic and beloved story, The Nutcracker. Some brief research revealed that this story has a long history and various adaptations, so I’m going to highlight my simple Golden Book copy and encourage the use of whatever version you’ve come to own and love. My book is from 1991 and was written by Rita Balducci and illustrated by Barbara Lanza.

This is the story of a little German girl named Clara who receives a nutcracker from her magical godfather at a party, turning her evening into a frightful and beautiful night of fighting large rodents and celebratory dancing.

I received this book when I was 8 after going to see The Nutcracker Ballet with my mom. It was a thrilling time and this book has always been commemorative of that special event. It is a very condensed version of the ballet, but the pictures are quite lovely and for a child, the simple retelling is perfect. Just enough fighting and plenty of elaborate and beautiful costumes for this little girl’s heart.

Still my favorite illustration of this book!

I know practically nothing about Rita Balducci except she seems to be quite the adapter. She is quite skilled as an editor for these famously well-known stories. If anyone knows any more about her, please reveal!

Barbara Lanza is also a new name to me. She seems to be quite talented in detailed illustrations of fantastical creatures such as fairies, elves and mermaids. While her work in this book is not monumental like her more recent work, it is lovely in detail and color and adds great beauty to such a pretty story.

Anyone else have fond memories of The Nutcracker? What other versions exist in children’s book form? I would love to see more and varied illustrations of it.

Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.