The Nutcracker in Harlem

by T. McMorrow and James Ransome

E. T. A. Hoffman’s familiar story of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King”... read more

E. T. A. Hoffman’s familiar story of “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” is re-imagined in the Sugar Hill Neighborhood of Harlem in the 1920s. African American Marie is surrounded by family and friends at a Christmas Eve party where jazz music replaces Tchaikovsky’s classical notes. Although thrilled to receive a drummer boy nutcracker as a gift, Marie is quiet when she’s urged to join in the singing, afraid that she won’t be as good as the adults around her. But later, as she dreams by the Christmas tree, Marie finds the courage to play a drum and lead the toy soldiers against the charging mouse army. James Ransome’s richly saturated tones capture the warmth of a festive Christmas gathering and a dramatic fantasy dream, while T. E. McMorrow’s text pays homage to both the original tale and the history of Harlem. (Ages 4-8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018

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