for The Nutcracker in Harlem
by T. McMorrow
and James Ransome
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)
CCBC Choices 2018. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2018. Used with permission.
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year!
This jazz-inspired reinvention of The Nutcracker is a worthy tribute to the dreamlike wonder and magic of the Christmas season.
In this original retelling, set in New York City during the height of the Harlem Renaissance, one little girl finds her voice as a musician thanks to her enchanting adventures with a magical toy.
This quintessential holiday tale is brought to vivid life by debut picture book author T. E. McMorrow and Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator James Ransome. An author's note at the end provides additional information about the history of the Harlem Renaissance, and about the author's inspiration for this musical retelling.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.