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Veronica Tennant. Illustrated by Toller Cranston.
Toronto, ON: McClelland and Stewart, 1985.
48pp., cloth, $19.95.
ISBN 0-7710-2316-2. CIP.

Subject Heading:
Fairy tales.

Preschool and up / Ages 3 and up

Reviewed by Barbara Egerer Walker.

Volume 14 Number 2
1986 March

Principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, Veronica Tennant, and champion skater and established artist, Toller Cranston, have pooled their talents to create a fresh, re-told version of the E.T.A. Hoffman classic story of the nutcracker. With Tennant as writer-narrator and Cranston as painter-illustrator, The Nutcracker is a beautiful work of art in storybook form. The re-telling has the traditional classic language associated with the original story, juxtaposed with fine-detailed black-and-white sketches and lavish, richly painted, colour drawings. The result of this interpretation is magic. The writing is easily readable and understandable by readers of all ages; a book for ages one to one hundred, to be read and re-read, leafed through or studied, to be appreciated for its fine detail or its face value. The combined talents of two accomplished artists and their individual interpretation of the Hoffman work is an interesting and distinctive one.

Toller Cranston is well known for his expertise in both championship skating and art. In The Nutcracker he has the characters appear in ballet form as if from the ballet production itself. Through the interpretation of Tennant, the story is retold from a ballerina's point of view. Many times throughout the book, the reader can clearly imagine himself or herself at the ballet, as the words flow as smoothly and precisely as a ballerina moves when she dances the story of "The Nutcracker" on stage. It is difficult to think of "The Nutcracker" without thinking of the National Ballet of Canada and Veronica Tennant. Henceforth, it will be difficult not to think of Toller Cranston when "The Nutcracker" comes to mind. This treasure-book is a perfect choice for a gift, or an addition to one's own library, and a souvenir of the outstanding talents of these two artists.

Barbara Egerer Walker, Etobicoke P.L., Etobicoke, ON.
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