Advent Calendar: Day 19

Today's Advent selection offers you a couple of options. There are many lovely illustrated versions of The Nutcracker, which most of us know as a ballet.  Here are two versions of the story in written form -- both are lovely.

The original story, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, was written in German by E.T.A. Hoffman in 1815, and is much longer and more involved than many folks realize. If you are interested in the full [translated!] text, this edition, illustrated by the great Maurice Sendak of "Where the Wild Things Are" fame, is a great choice. The pictures are full of detail and weird whimsy, great to pore over and explore.

If you have younger readers/listeners, an abridged version of the story may be just the thing. This edition, re-told and illustrated by Susan Jeffers is a good one. I have recommended this telling of the story before -- I think it's very pretty.

And I would also encourage you to go see a performance of the ballet and luxuriate in the gorgeous Tchaikovsky music. In multiple dressing rooms across America, someone is strapping on her pointe shoes right now. Go see it!