The Nutcracker: A Magic Theatre Book (a review)

Nutcracker Book on chair

I have the most beautiful, magical, amazing children’s book to share with you. Sometimes reviews are difficult for me to write because I hate to say anything bad about a product that has been given to me by someone who is paying me to write about it. But I also want to be truthful to you readers because my word is my word after all. So you can imagine how wonderful it is when I sign up for a product I that would rave about without even being paid. This book is that product. I don’t think I can rave about it enough. It’s so pretty! So beautifully illustrated! I just want to eat it! I think my photos will tell you all you need to see but I’ll rattle on anyway.

The princess reads

I bribed Bug with frozen yogurt and a trip to a local nail salon to get her to pose for these photos because, as you know, she’s not a girly girl anymore and she only likes to be seen wearing black, preferably black Hello Kitty. But to tell you the truth, when she opened up this book and we talked about dressing up to play a part in one of her favorite ballets, you should have seen the gleam in her eye. She might lead you to believe she’s too much of a tomboy to wear tutus and prance around to Tchaikovsky but she’s totally fooling herself. That girly-girl is still in there and she loved this book. We both do.


Bug can read now so it’s twice as much fun. I’ve seen the Nutcracker on stage but Bug has not yet though she’s heard about it plenty and seen small parts of it when the big girls performed at her dance recital. She’s seen Swan Lake with her dad and loved it. So I think it’s time we got tickets to see The Nutcracker now that the holiday season is so quickly approaching. I know! I’m sorry! I hate to be the one to remind you.

peeking through

This book is the perfect introduction to the famous story. I love how touchable it is even though it is a pop-up book. I’ve long been frustrated with pop-up books. They are usually written for really young children but really young children love to rip up pop-up books. This book is can be appreciated by just about anyone at any age. I love looking at it. How the characters pop into the circle when you turn the page is fascinating.

Here’s a movie so you can see for yourself:

Isn’t it pretty? I wish snow fell when you turned the pages but that’s just a special effect of the movie. It does make me want to scoot closer to my heater and look out a window at snow that is not there. It’s fun to dream…

pretty cut outs

The Black Cat Flashlight stands in for Captain Nutcracker

Here is Bug with her Black Cat flashlight that also has a jaw that snaps up and down like a nutcracker. She was in character to say the least.


beautiful illustrations

Thank you, Nutcracker, for bringing back my old Bug to me. I missed her.

reading 2

dress-up unleashed

It’s a good thing I never got rid of all her old dress up clothes.

ballerina feet


silly princess

So if you have a girly-girl in your life or someone who loves ballet as much as we do, I say: you must get this book. It’s so pretty and very well made. You can buy it here and I have a 25% discount for you if you purchase it before November 30th, 2012. Just enter the promo code NUTCRACKER when you check out.

And guess what?!! I have one beaufiful book to give away. It’s sitting on my bookshelf right now so we don’t even have to worry about it being shipped from the manufacturer. I’ll send it to you personally. Bug might even write you a little note to go with it.

The Nutcracker

Feeling lucky? Just comment below about what is special to you when you think of The Nutcracker and I will randomly pick one winner next Monday. I can’t wait to hear your stories!


hurry before the clock strikes

I know Halloween is over but I wanted to post about the costume my mom made for the neighbor girl next door. You may remember they are refuges from Iraq and this is their first Halloween in America. Lubna, the fourteen-year-old daughter, was over the moon about Halloween. She was so excited. I think she asked me every single day about one detail or another for the entire month of October. Maybe even September.

So when she asked if I could help her buy a Cinderella costume I couldn’t really say no. It was her dream. Unlike her peers in middle school she didn’t want to be a zombie or a sexy nurse or a nerd wearing short shorts. She wanted to be Cinderella. I did some research and finding a modest Cinderella costume in her size was a bit of a challenge. The ones I did find were seventy-five dollars and up. So I turned to my mom.

cinderella plans

My mom should have said no. She hasn’t been sewing the way she used to back in the day. Her hands are all knotted up with arthritis and trying to get her sewing machines (that are antiques) working properly has become more of a challenge than it is worth sometimes. But my mom is like me. One look in Lubna’s big hazel eyes and we were both goners. This little big girl had to be Cinderella. There was just no way around it.

laying out the pattern

I bought the fabric and my mom and dad came into town to visit me so my mom could sew the costume using my not-so-antique sewing machine. It took about two and a half days and was very pleasant for all of us. I love it when my parents visit me.


While my mom was pinning and cutting, my dad was outside fixing up an old bike for Bug.

princess bike? no way!

Bug’s Hello Kitty Beach Cruiser that was gifted to us from the kids I babysit was sadly too big and too heavy for her to ride. We gave it a good try but that hunk of metal just sat on my tiny patio rusting because it was too, too heavy for me to carry up and down the stairs and too heavy for Bug to even get pedaling. It was disappointing to get rid of it because we both love Hello Kitty but it just wasn’t practical. Who knows, maybe she’ll grow into it later.


My dad brought in an old princess bike that was just the right size for Bug (and light enough for me to haul up and down the stairs easily) and painted it black just for Bug. Because as you know she is NOT into pink anymore.

spray booth spray box

He was happy to do it. Like me, he’s a bit of a work-a-holic and likes to be busy all the time. If he wasn’t tinkering on the bike he’d be tinkering on something else.

sew sew sew

Mom sewed.

painter dad

Dad painted. And I flitted back and forth between them like a spoiled only child. It was awesome.

Lovin' Grandma Sugar

Lubna looked on. Can you feel her excitement?


Sew, sew, sew.


Sew, Sue, sew! See Sue sew!


After a few cheap-satin-vs-the-zipper catastrophes, the dress was complete. And it fit Lubna just right. She was a princess! Her American dream came true. Her dark brown hair is beautiful but she had her heart set on being a blonde Cinderella so I picked her up a cheap five dollar wig and some long silky gloves.

Princess Lu

She was so happy. I wish I had taken photos of her on Halloween night when she was all done up in pretty make-up (her mom is a make-up artist after all) but I was my usual busy-squirrel-throwing-a-party self and forgot about my camera completely. So just imagine her with soft pink lipstick, blue eyeshadow and eyelashes a mile long. Pretty CinderLu.

Thank you, Mom!

The bike turned out too. But I’ll have to show you pictures of that later.