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Notice what attracts your children's attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; ... More

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Author: Ralph Covert and G. Riley Mills

Illustrator: Wilson Swain

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Publisher: Chronicle Books,

Material: hard cover

Summary: There is nothing more important to Fritz Stahlbaum than reaching level 22 on his Mouse Hunter 5000 video game. But when he does, he frees the evil Mouse King. Now alive, the Mouse King is determined to destroy Christmas. What has he done? Just as the Mouse King begins his attack on Fritz, the Nutcracker arrives. She saves him, but the evil Mouse King escapes, and the adventure begins. This is a modernized, clever twist on the classic Christmas ballet, the Nutcracker Suite. The book comes with a CD.

Type of Reading: playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, interactive reading

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 9

Reading Level: 4

Age of Child: Read by an 8-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter dove right into this book. She liked the way the characters were drawn and all of the action. There were several spots,though, where she got tired of reading aloud and asked to read silently.

Adult Reader Reaction: What a fun twist on the story. Instead of Clara as the center of the story, it is Fritz ... and Clara takes on the Nutcracker's role. The illustrations remind me of Tim Burton, but they are much brighter in color and meaning.

Pros: This is a picture book that will bring boys to the story of the Nutcracker Suite. The CD makes it a great choice for first and second grade readers to follow along.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy! This is a fun story and unlike other versions can engage siblings that are boys AND girls! The CD makes it a good choice for letting the kids entertain themselves, too.


Educational Themes: This is a retelling of the classic Nutcracker. It has all of the key elements, though a number of the roles are reversed.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, performing arts, Christmas

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2009

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