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Hoffman, E.T.A.

Retold by Veronica Tennant, Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1987. audio-cassette, $10.95, ISBN 1-7710-8494-3.

Pre-school and up
Reviewed by Margaret Montgomery

Volume 16 Number 5
1988 September

On this tape, Veronica Tennant reads from her own version of The Nutcracker. The reading is interspersed with and supported by appropriate musical selections from Tchaikovsky's ballet score. Tennant reads in a clear voice with emphasis and plenty of variation in tone. Every word is audible.

The narrative definitely lakes centre stage here, with the music used to provide colour. However, there is enough music to remind children of the ballet, which many will have seen on television if not in a theatre. The music never drowns out the voice, but the familiar melodies do add emotion during the build-up to the family's Christmas Eve festivities, during the battle scene, and on the Journey to the land of fantasy.

Congratulations to all concerned. This recording brings the story to life, and children should be able to visualize the scenes. There are a great many vivid adjectives creating word pictures. As the producer, Bill Usher, says In an interview, the music is used "to give aural clues and to involve the listener in the story." Usher has indeed "embellished the narrative." I find Tennant's version delightful and her dramatic reading a success.

Margaret Montgomery, West Vernon Elementary School, Vernon, B.C.

*Reviewed vol. XIV/2 March 1986 p.67.

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