Leap into The Nutcracker

The ice rinks have opened, Zoolights has the Lincoln Park Zoo lit up, and with the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker opening Friday, the holiday season is upon us. Whether you plan to go to the theater, watch a recorded version at home or dance-along, 'tis the season to catch Nutcrackermania!

First performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, The Nutcracker ballet has been around for over 120 years. Just like so many of today's popular movies based on books, the ballet was based on a short story, one called "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King." Many artists have interpreted The Nutcracker, so there's sure to be a version to please every audience.

Younger Readers

If you like the traditional, try Maurice Sendak's Nutcracker, or The Nutcracker in Harlem, which is an original telling inspired by the classic story.

The pictures in Susan Jeffers' The Nutcracker and Jay Allison's The Nutcracker look like what you might find in a classic fairytale, while the shadow puppet-like dancers pirouetting across the pages of Niroot Puttapipat's The Nutcracker are lively and slick.


Older Readers

And for you older readers who may have caught the ballet bug? I suggest you jeté into one of these Nutcracker-inspired chapter books.

In Nutcracked, a young dancer learns the antique nutcracker her dance company uses is the real Nutcracker.

Samira's Garden is the story of a dance company staging a production of the ballet to raise money for a neighbor whose garden has been destroyed.

In The Nutcracker Mice, the Russian Mice Ballet Company prepares for opening night.

And Becoming A Ballerina is the true story of a 13-year-old dancer's audition and first performance as Clara.

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