Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nutcracker” as Want to Read:
The Nutcracker
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nutcracker

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  13,124 ratings  ·  842 reviews
Hoffmann's classic Christmas fairy tale, immortalised by Tchaikovsky's ballet, is brought to life by the gorgeous contemporary artwork of Finnish illustrator, Sanna Annuka.

On Christmas Eve, Fritz and Marie excitedly await the arrival of Godfather Drosselmeier and the marvellous gifts he brings for them every year. When Marie discovers a curious nutcracker doll among the pr
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published November 2nd 2017 by Hutchinson (first published 1816)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nutcracker, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Michael Watson There is an interesting introductory essay by Jack Zipes in the Penguin Classics edition (the one that contains both Hoffman's original story and Duma…moreThere is an interesting introductory essay by Jack Zipes in the Penguin Classics edition (the one that contains both Hoffman's original story and Dumas' "lighter and sweeter" adaptation). Zipes addresses the question that you ask, saying that Drosselmeier is indeed not entirely helpful: he observes Marie, to see how she will react, before providing any assistance. He wants to see if she will remain true to her own imagination, or permit it to be stifled by her parents' urging her to put aside her childish fantasies. Hoffman, as a German Romanticist, believed that fairy tales should be subversive, urging children to give free reign to their imagination. Apparently, he made this point very explicitly at a meeting of a literary society of which he was a member late in his life. So I guess I would say that yes, there is some ambivalence to Drosselmeier. He is subversive in the way he challenges the treatment of children as "little adults" who should exactly obey rational, orderly rules as they are presented in the Stahlbaum household.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,124 ratings  ·  842 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Nutcracker
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Okay, I picked this book for a challenge here on Goodreads but now I want the whole set of these books. I'm loving these covers and they are too expensive right now. Maybe get one a month.


I will also have to admit I have never seen the Nutcracker on tv. I might have seen bits of one when I was little. Yeah, I never thought I would be into the play, movies, whatever . . . but now I want to watch them.

I will also admit that this book creeped me out in the beginning when they were describing the
Ruby Granger
Dec 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderful, magical tale which I regret not having read as a child.
Joey Woolfardis
Translations are, as a rule, pretty bad. I feel like this translation did not do the original story justice at all and a lot of the magic had seeped through the cracks as a result.

The story itself has dark layers to it that the ballet does not possess. It has a rather disjointed flow to it and altogether it is a fairly obvious story of a time long ago (when attractiveness was the most important quality in any thing). However, the most important thing about this story is that it was the inspirat
Is it just me or does anyone else think that E.T.A. Hoffmann and just for the fun of it, L. Frank Baum, were on some kind of drugs when they wrote their most popular books? LOL!!

I knew absolutely nothing going into this book. Never saw a play. Never saw a movie. Had always heard about it but never gave it much thought. That being said I must say that I was completely mesmerized! What a delightful story! So happy that I finally read the book! Now I know I'll have to watch a movie or see a play! I
Merphy Napier
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics

I think this would be a thrilling and fun story for children and one that comes with some good opportunities for important discussions. That being said, the way the story was presented really didn't hold my attention well at all. It was okay the whole way through until the end. I found the way it turned out quite creepy and odd (view spoiler)
I clearly remember that when I had to read E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairy tales for a course on German Romanticism I was taking during my undergraduate degree (in 1986, at Mount Allison University in Sackville, New Brunswick) how strangely surprised I was at just how creepily uncanny and also how generally quite majorly different his 1816 Nußknacker und Mausekönig is from the main storyline of The Nutcracker ballet so universally well known and beloved on a global basis. And yes, our professor then tol ...more
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture
Raecke's text is drawn from the Hoffman original, so it is a bit simpler than the ballet with which more of us today are familiar. Marie doesn't turn into a grown woman, there is only the slightest hint of romance, and the godfather is a kindly background figure rather than a threat.

Yana Sedova's illustrations were very pretty, although a bit heavy on the clockwork motif, which drops out of the story after the first few pages. Perhaps some kindly librarian could add her as the illustrator, as w
Maurice Sendak did the illustrations for this edition. I love them. They are quirky and what you expect from Maurice.

This is the full edition and it is night something you can read in a single bedtime story. This is long. This is also all about how things look. Is someone pretty or not. Marie sees the beauty on the inside over what is on the outside.

The nutcracker ballet focuses more on the candyland part of the story and the beauty there. The book spends much of the story on war - heaven help
”You’ll have to suffer a lot if you want to take charge of a poor, deformed Nutcracker. Only you can rescue him. Be strong and loyal.”

Synopsis: E.T.A. Hoffman forever ruins your favorite Christmas time ballet. Try overcoming this sucker, Tchaikovsky.

Wonderful Christian Entertainment This Is Not: Like a lot of people, my family and I watch The Nutcracker every Christmas, since it seems to be a holiday staple. However, either I’m totally missing something or I just wasn’
Heather *Undercover Goth Queen*
The Nutcracker Prince, with Keifer Sutherland as the voice of Nutcracker, was one of my favorite childhood movies, and is still a favorite to this day. When I realized it was based on a short story that also inspired the ballet, obviously I had to read it.

I'm not a fan of Where the Wild Things Are, and I wasn't too impressed with Sendak's weird Labyrinth-like tale, Outside Over There (because there was no Jareth in it, obviously). But I wanted to read this version because Auntie J said it was th
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, 0-germany
Till now I've liked everything I've read by ETA Hoffmann and I don't understand why he isn't more known and read, seen also that he is important in literature seen that several important and more famous authors took inspiration from his works. What I above all like is his skill to mix magic, fantasy and reality and also a bit of creepiness. Till now in all his stories I was enraptured by this mix, that at the end I wasn't able to say what was true and what was magic. Also in this story, till the ...more

Book #4 in #CramaThon2015.

(Read a book under 200 pages.)
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
I read this book years ago, but since I am reviewing Christmas books that I am reading this year, I have added this.

Back in the 1970s my friend Cathy took me and her grandmother to see The Nutcracker Ballet in San Francisco. It was the highlight of my Christmas and many to come. We did a lot of Christmas things when I lived in Berkeley. San Francisco was always great for looking in store windows to see the old fashion Christmas displays and Union Square was always lit up. And then we enjoyed the
I love my edition with its wonderful introduction and Maurice Sendak illustrations. I love the music and the dancing that is the ballet. But there is something about this story that always creeps me out. It is not the many headed mouse king. No, its the whole ending bit. The story is about girl growing up, to a degree, except that it is rather strange because when she travel with her dream prince she dreams of a place any child would want. Than all of a sudden she is getting married to a little ...more
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What little girl hasn’t been spellbound after seeing the magical wonders of the Nutcracker ballet and feeling the crescendo enthralling music of Tchaikovsky’s Op. 71 pulsing through the air? I certainly was. December 1967, my parents took me to see my first Nutcracker performance at the Civic Center Music Hall in Oklahoma City. Continuing the tradition, I in turn took my daughters during the winter of their kindergarten years. And though I haven’t experienced a live performance since 1993, every ...more
Nostalgia Reader
4.5 stars.

December 2017:
I love all the imagery this brings to mind <3 The story-ception of this all really stood out to me this time, and how there are at least three worlds that are parallel, which definitely lends itself to symbolic analysis eventually. It can be sort of choppy and confusing at points, but that only adds to the weirdness of it all. I still remain convinced that Baum was slightly inspired by this for the Oz stories; this time around, in addition to seeing the fairyland as a jur
While reading this for a Yule themed group read in the Into the Forest group I realised that I had never actually read this original version! I was surprised to find that it's much darker and creepier than the ballet. I then discovered that the ballet is actually based on a short story written by Alexandre Dumas!
I can't give a book where mice play such a large role more than 3 stars, but regardless this book is interesting to read if you're interested in
Nov 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful book to read and to look at. There is more to the story than the ballet. A classic that I have never read before -- highly recommended, especially at Christmas.
Oh lovely, lovely! I had no idea that the famous Tchaikovsky ballet was actually based on an adaption of Alexandre Dumas' (!) adaption of this fairytale by Hoffmann, neither did I have the slightest clue that Hoffmann wrote a fairytale like this; since so far I had only read his 'Nachtstücke' including The Sandman, as well as some other weird tales.

The story follows seven-year-old Marie, who is given a wooden (though not very pretty looking) nutcracker from her Godfather Drosselmeyer for Christ
classic reverie
All my life I heard about "The Nutcracker" but never really knew anything about it and certainly never heard of E.T.A. Hoffmann, though since coming to Goodreads, I have other stories of his on my list. Let me explain, during Christmastime when I was really little, I saw the store versions placed around the stores but we never owned one. I also knew there was a play; I have heard some of the music but I never saw the play or read this story. So when I saw this with some other Christmas offerings ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom and I used to see this ballet nearly every winter, but I'd never read the original story. I loved seeing Sendak's illustrations accompanying it, and if I see the ballet again I'll have a thorough understanding of the backstory!
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love the ballet and now I love the book too.

This story is just ok. It has inspired many many adaptions which are better than the original. I don't have any childhood connection to the Nutcracker so I don't have the same nostalgia others do. I'm glad I read it once but I wouldn't read it again.
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's return to Christmas time for a moment with the last book I read in 2016 (while my dad was suffering from influenza, and I myself had a cold and was in bed throughout Christmas with chocolate pralines, so perfect time for something light), and the last book from that year I'm going to review. The story of the Nutcracker is best known as the Tchaikovsky ballet, which in turn is based on Alexandre Dumas père's adaptation of Hoffmann's story. The ballet's gorgeous music and the beautiful sets ...more
“Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially.”

Enjoyment Rate - 62%
Story - 14%
Characters - 6%
Total - 82%
Rating - ★★★★☆

What a more perfect time to read Hoffman’s The Nutcracker than in Christmas Eve? I am so glad I decided to read this right before Christmas because it certainly adds to the experience and it did improve my festive mood. I enjoyed reading this book and I flew through it in one sitting. I have not watched the film or the ballet
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second time reading this book. I read if for school in 6th grade, all the 6th grade English classes read it and then we got to go see a production of the Ballet. This is one of my favorite stories and definitely my favorite ballet. I enjoyed rereading this book.
Coral Davies
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Possibly one of the more insane children's stories I have ever read. A very enjoyable, sweet tale of a little girl and a nutcracker and how she helped him to defeat a 7-headed mouse king tyrant.

In parts the translation was confusing - the author kept altering who he was speaking to, wavering from "my dear audience" to "attentive Fritz" and "young dear Marie" etc and often the exchanges between characters would be illogical i.e. Marie watches princesses make sweets and wants to join in. But the n
Weird story, and with a seriously creepy finale, if you ask me.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michelle Stockard Miller
The original story is vastly different from the beloved ballet. I love the ballet. I've seen it many times, but I also really loved this story. I can almost imagine that the recent holiday film, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, had some basis in this original story. I've heard some people were in an uproar over the film because it's different from the ballet. Perhaps they have not read this original story? On my end, I'm always open to new interpretations of a story.

I highly recommend this.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Suffolk bookclub: Nutcracker - E. T. A Hoffman 4 5 Jan 03, 2019 10:05AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Add details to book edition 7 225 Dec 27, 2018 05:55AM  
Into the Forest: The Nutcracker and the Mouse King - NO spoilers 54 52 Jan 08, 2017 01:09AM  
Goodreads Librari...: editions issues 2 21 Sep 28, 2016 10:55AM  
Goodreads Librari...: add page count 2 9 Sep 24, 2016 08:40PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Publisher error duplicating ISBN, how to handle 8 28 Feb 12, 2016 03:31PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Night Before Christmas
  • The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus
  • The Snow Queen
  • Chris Van Allsburg's Polar Express
  • The Fir Tree
  • A Merry Christmas and Other Christmas Stories
  • Letters from Father Christmas
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1)
  • A Christmas Carol
  • The Legends of King Arthur and His Knights
  • The Night Before Christmas
  • Santa Mouse
  • A Christmas Treasury
  • The Nutcracker
  • Norman Rockwell's Christmas Book
  • Cinderella
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales
  • Beauty and the Beast
See similar books…
Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann, better known by his pen name E. T. A. Hoffmann (Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann), was a German Romantic author of fantasy and horror, a jurist, composer, music critic, draftsman and caricaturist. His stories form the basis of Jacques Offenbach's famous opera The Tales of Hoffmann, in which Hoffman appears (heavily fictionalized) as the hero. He is also the author of ...more

Articles featuring this book

The holiday season is all about comfort and joy, but—let's be real—it can be a bit hectic too. That's why we suggest cozying up with a...
45 likes · 15 comments
“Ah!” Marie finally exclaimed. “Ah! Dear Father! Who owns that darling little man over on the tree there?” “He,” the father answered. “He, dear child, should work hard for all of us. He should crack the hard nuts for us nicely. And he should belong to Luise as much as he belongs to you and to Fritz.” The father then removed him cautiously from the table and, raising the wooden cape aloft, the manikin opened his mouth wide, wide, and showed two rows of very sharp, very tiny white teeth. When told to do so, Marie inserted a nut and—Crack! Crack!—he chewed up the nut, so that the shell dropped away, and the sweet kernel itself ended up in Marie’s hand. By now, everyone, including Marie, had to know that the dainty little man was an offspring of the dynasty of Nutcrackers and was practicing his profession. She shouted for joy, but then her father spoke: “Since, dear Marie, you love Friend Nutcracker so much, you must shield and shelter him especially, even despite the fact that, as I have said, Luise and Fritz have as much right to use him as you!” 2 likes
“Now that Fritz also wanted to eat nuts, the little man passed from hand to hand, unable to halt his snapping open and shut. Fritz kept shoving in the biggest and hardest nuts. All at once, they heard a double crack. Then three little teeth fell out of Nutcracker’s mouth, and his whole lower jaw turned loose and wobbly. “Oh, my poor, dear Nutcracker,” Marie exclaimed, whisking him out of Fritz’s hands.” 2 likes
More quotes…