My just-turned four-year-old and my five-year-old have always loved board books by author/illustrator Karen Katz, and so have I. I haven't asked the girls why they like them so much, but one of the reasons I like them is their simplicity. If I had to sum up the style of the books in just three words, I would probably say something along the lines of "short and sweet."
Karen Katz's new touch-and-feel board book, Nutcracker Twinkle Toes, fits this description perfectly--taking the meaning of "sweet" to a whole new level. In less than 100 words of rhyming text, the book leads readers on a Christmas Eve journey to the Land of Sweets, where they meet an assortment of fairies and other characters who all seem to have two things in common: a love of ballet and a love of candy. Luckily they don't have much interest in actually eating the candy, but instead find creative ways to dance with it, admire it, or simply give it away...
The Sugar Plum Fairy loves to twirl and leap.
"This bag of jellybeans is yours to keep."
Although the Sugar Plum Fairy appears in the book, Clara and the Nutcracker are among many other familiar characters who do not. If you're looking for the traditional story of the Nutcracker, this is probably not the book for you. But if you want a unique and very simplified adaptation--with a creative twist--you will find it here. As a side note, this would be a great book to integrate into a creative dance or ballet class for very young children (if you don't mind that it mentions Christmas and none of the other holidays that happen this time of year.)
While we are on the subject of the Nutcracker, my family and I have tickets to see the actual ballet this evening. The Maryland Youth Ballet is doing a full-length production with children in all the lead roles, so I thought it would be perfect for my girls. This will be their first ballet, and it's been quite a few years since I've seen it myself, so I'm getting really excited. We may even have snow for the festive occasion!
Today's Poetry Friday round-up is being held at The Poem Farm. Drop by to find links to lots more posts related to poetry and children's literature.