Nutcracker Night Reviews

School Library Journal

Cover: Nutcracker Night Author: Mireille Messier Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard Publisher: Pajama Press

“Each sumptuous full-page spread contains the minimal amount of text necessary to set the scene. Key to the text are its dynamic placement and the use of onomatopoetic words and phrases that are set in their own big, bold, distinctive type. The painterly illustrations capture the excitement, energy, and lushness of it all with a bit of humor thrown in for good measure….A great primer, reminder, or armchair visit for seeing The Nutcracker live. Great for reading aloud and individual sharing.”
–Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH

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Kirkus Reviews

“A sprightly introduction to the classic Christmas ballet. The backmatter notes that ‘[The Nutcracker] is often the first ballet children attend,’ and Messier and Grimard’s collaboration does an exceptional job of distilling the ballet’s story into spare, accessible text and engaging art that could prepare children for attending the ballet, let them relive the experience, or simply give them the delight of the story in book form….Sure to elicit the storytime equivalent of ‘encore’ at Christmastime and beyond.”

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Publishers Weekly

“This vibrant tribute to a holiday tradition follows a sensory-filled adventure to a Nutcracker performance….The interpretation of the Christmas tree that grows enormous as the clock strikes midnight—always a show-stopper on stage—is particularly memorable, featuring the word Bong! in a gradually increasing font size and a glowing, candlelit evergreen towering over the heroine. A charming entrée for ballet-bound children.”

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The Horn Book Magazine

“A good primer to complement a child’s first time seeing The Nutcracker and, for those familiar with it, a fresh take on a classic.”
—Katie Bircher

Read the full review in the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Foreword Reviews

“Experience Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker through the eyes of a young girl attending the ballet in this fresh rendition of the beloved classic.”
—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Read the full review in the November/December 2019 issue of Foreword Reviews

Resource Links

“Rating: E…A young girl enjoys an evening out with her dad in New York City. They are dressed up to see The Nutcracker Ballet….Highlights from the ballet include views of the nutcracker when he’s new, broken and then fixed. Children will see the Mouse King, the marching soldiers and the Sugar Plum Fairy and flamenco dancers in their beautiful outfits. Although the evening looks serene and cozy, the creators of this book added realistic things one would see at the theatre such as sleeping people in the audience and audience members who make a little too much noise. The book ends with a one page write-up about the history of the ballet and the New York theatre that appears in the story.

This is a beautiful Christmas story, with a sparkly cover (the snowflakes are glossy) but it can be read at any time of the year to introduce children to ballet, theatre, or words that are associated with fun to say sounds.”
—Tanya Boudreau

Read the full review on page 8 of the December 2019 Final Issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“With a diversity of audience and delightful observations, Nutcracker Night captures the magic of a young school-aged child’s visit to the ballet with her father. The Nutcracker, a classic ballet, comes to life as a true auditory experience….The pen and ink with watercolour illustrations are both detailed and energetic….The book concludes with a synopsis of the story told by The Nutcracker as well as history of the ballet and its current cultural significance. Highly Recommended.”
Christy den Haan-Veltman

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Canadian Children’s Book News

“Mireille Messier, through the clever and playful use of onomatopoeia, introduces young readers to The Nutcracker ballet in this beautiful book about a little girl’s first experience at the theatre….Created with watercolour, gouache, oil, coloured pencils and digital media, Gabrielle Grimard’s stunning illustrations bring the story of the nutcracker to life…Grimard’s creations exude the warmth and richness of the holiday season and make us wish we were right there with the little girl and her father.

Sure to become a holiday classic, Nutcracker Night is a must-have for those who love the ballet. And, for those who have never had the chance to experience it, this book will serve as a lovely introduction.”
—Sandra O’Brien

Read the full review in the Winter 2019 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

The Sudbury Star

“Toronto’s Mireille Messier opts not to tell the story of the Nutcracker (although a brief author’s note at the end of the book provides a synopsis) but focuses instead on the child’s outing with an onomatopoeic series of words that capture the sensations surrounding the event. Colourfully illustrated by Quebec’s Gabrielle Grimard, this should appeal to ages three to six…”
—Bernie Goedhart

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Midwest Book Review

“An author’s note enriches the text with further information and a brief summary of the famous ballet, making it an unreservedly recommended addition to family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-7.”

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Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? This is a celebration of the sights and sounds of an enchanting performance of The Nutcracker….A night at the ballet is wonderfully depicted from the arrival at the theater, the orchestra tuning, the audience clapping and then, “Voof! go the velvet curtains – Wow!” and the ballet begins. The story of the Nutcracker is wonderfully told through minimal text and the lovely illustrations. This is a wonderful introduction to the ballet for young readers and will be enjoyed by fans of the holiday classic.”
Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Though the story of the Nutcracker, that of a young girl perhaps dreaming of a nutcracker come to life, is the basis for Mireille Messier’s picture book, Nutcracker Night goes beyond a retelling of the ballet’s premise….

Gabrielle Grimard’s artwork, created with watercolour, gouache, oil, coloured pencil and digital media, evokes the magic and the affection of the experience for all participants. From the wide-eyed faces of the children to the action of the ballet, Gabrielle Grimard takes the reader into the theatre to watch, to hear and to appreciate the Christmas ballet.

Head to the ballet with Mireille Messier and Gabrielle Grimard’s Nutcracker Night for a different kind of audiovisual experience and one that is perfect for the holidays. Like the nutcracker itself, Nutcracker Night opens up a tale for the season.”

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Fab Book Reviews

“With the story’s emphasis on short, exuberant bursts of onomatopoetic language, Nutcracker Night allows for the incredibly warm, inviting and expressive illustrations by Grimard to really shine.

A great pick for the coming winter and Christmas season, Nutcracker Night’s noise-and-sound-based text in tandem with lush, cozy art makes for a joyful, perfect-for-reading-aloud experience. Readers who love picture books such as the rhythmic and sound-laden I Got the Christmas Spirit, or other charming versions of The Nutcracker by authors-illustrators such as Jack and Holman Wang (a board book version), or Valeria Docampo and New York City Ballet, might especially delight in the genuine wonder and felicity on display in Messier and Grimard’s Nutcracker Night.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“This lovely book is filled with the joy that occurs when a little girl and her father attend their first ballet together….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….

The writing, with 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.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful picture book would make a lovely December gift for a young child….The pictures here are charming, bringing the characters, audience members, musicians, and dancers to life. We see the rosy cheeks, the children awed by the night and the ones eager for more. There are many children, as would be expected for this ballet, and lots of ages of adults. Fathers and mothers, diversity of people, and a range of festive attire. Outside the snow is falling, and inside the magic makes everything else disappear. Beautifully done.”

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“[T]his beautifully illustrated book by Gabrielle Grimard are all the sounds a little girl hears as she attends the ballet with her dad….I haven’t had the privilege to attend a performance of the Nutcracker, but based on this book, I can imagine how beautiful it is.”

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