Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Nutcracker Night, written by Mireille Messier and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard. Pajama Press, 2019. $22.95 ages 2 and up
goes the fancy fountain.
goes my frilly dress.
go Daddy's new shoes."
This lovely book is filled with the joy that occurs when a little girl and her father attend their first ballet together. The Nutcracker seems a perfect introduction, much to the delight of the father who is the recipient of her abundant enthusiasm for their outing. The story is told with simplicity, and wonderful sound effects that make for a dramatic reading. It is a feast for the senses.with both sights and sounds.
Each of the scenes from catching a taxi to the theatre, dancing past the 'fancy fountain', meeting friends in the foyer, listening to the orchestra in preparation for the performance, cheering at the opening scene, experiencing the drama of the ballet itself, the intermission, and the final scene are captured perfectly in Gabrielle Grimard's wondrous art. Using watercolor, gouache, oil, colored pencil and digital media she explores the entire experience, down to the final kiss of thanks bestowed on the father's cheek. You will certainly find your own favorite scene: mine shows the emotions felt by the two young attendees as the first act ends in terror. The curtain comes down, the lights go up, and the darkness disappears.
The writing, wtih its perfect sound effects, gives readers a real feel for the excitement inherent in such an exceptional moment. What a delightful way to introduce young readers to the entirety of the experience. An author's note concerning both the story and the history is welcome.