Book Details

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The Nutcracker in Harlem

illustrated by James Ransome

About the Book

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.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“This inventive book embeds the classic holiday ballet in the elegant Harlem Renaissance world of the 1920s...[Ransome’s] rich jewel-toned art makes both indoor scenes and the New York City night vibrate with life and holiday wonder.” —New York Times Book Review

“Radiant watercolor illustrations use a palette of glowing jewel tones, especially deep blues and brilliant fuchsia for Marie’s flowing dress.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An intriguing integration of The Nutcracker’s magic into a new setting, and a welcome addition to the shelf of Nutcracker-themed picture books.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“From the dreamy, lyrical jacket illustration to the moonlit street scene to the beautifully individualized portrayals of characters in period clothing, Ransome’s deep-toned watercolor paintings bring the story and its Jazz Age background to life on the page.” —Booklist

“A familiar ballet story, reinterpreted with style.” —Booklist

“Filled with motion, emotion, and period detail, Ransome’s vivid watercolors celebrate the magic of both the fairy-tale world Marie dreams herself into and the vibrant real-life community that is eager to help her find her voice.” —Publishers Weekly

“T.E. McMorrow has breathed new life into a children’s Christmas classic... [it] begs to be on the shelves now rather than later.” —East Hampton Star

“Each page is filled with sumptuous illustrations and paintings by Mr. Ransome...” —East Hampton Star

“[McMorrow’s] well-crafted, quasi-homage to the original “Nutcracker,” together with illustrations that help the imagination run wild and the inclusive theme of Christmas magic, will be sure to provide an escape from the tedium of the imminent commercial holiday season.” —East Hampton Star

“Ransome’s watercolor illustrations enhance the story handsomely, and the author’s end note gives a brief background on the Harlem Renaissance.” —School Library Journal

“This is a fine addition to the canon of retellings of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale and the perennially favorite holiday ballet.” —School Library Journal

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780061175985
  • ISBN 10: 0061175986
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 09/26/2017
  • Pages: 32
  • List Price: 21.99 CAD
  • Ages: 4 to 8
  • BISAC1: JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Celebrations / Christmas & Advent
  • BISAC2: JUVENILE FICTION / Performing Arts / Music
  • BISAC3: JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / United States / African American

The Nutcracker in Harlem by T. E. McMorrow

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