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The Nutcracker Mice

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  45 reviews
A young mouse must save her production of The Nutcracker in a charming holiday tale from the author of The Gingerbread Pirates and the illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Hidden in Saint Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theater are the world's tiniest ballet fans: the Mariinsky mice, including Esmeralda, a rising dancer in the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. Despite be
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 24th 2017 by Candlewick Press
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  92 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, rc17
a truly delightful reimagining of the Nutcracker Ballet, performed by the mice who have their own ballet company beneath the stage of Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg. The original ballet is about to have its first performance by the human dancers, and the Russian Mouse Ballet will be staging their own performance at the same time. The mouse ballet must succeed, or else the mouse company will be short of food (received from their audience) and they might have to close their curtains. But the ...more
Madeleine (Top Shelf Text)
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Note: Top Shelf Text was provided with a copy of this text by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

This middle grade novel features Esmeralda, an aspiring prima ballerina in the Russian Mouse Ballet, and an empathetic little girl named Irina. The two characters form and unlikely bond as Irina helps Esmeralda to save the Russian Mouse Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker and protect the mice from a custodian bent on eradicating them. I loved the message of this
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, wishlist
This is a adorable and wonderful book. I love it! Dance loving people will love this book and the fun-loving mice as they have there adventures and shows in here.I have to say it again. It is wonderful! My ballet loving sister said that she thought it was very cute and that the writer explainded the ballet moves perfectly. And that she doesn't like Mr.Gurkin the custodian.
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Read this to my 6 year old. It was the right story for his age, but long and with difficult language, even as an adult. I appreciate the Russian references for authenticity, but it was a laborious read. We both enjoyed the story. Nate gave it 3 Stars.
Kimberly Souza
Dec 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: master-booklist
Very sweet story full of adorable mice. It's nice to see mice and rats as sweet characters in a book. I don't see them as pests, so I really enjoyed this take on the nutcracker for that reason. It's a great read aloud for kids as well.
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First sentence: There were mice at the Mariinsky.

Premise/plot: The Nutcracker Mice is set in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 1892. It takes place mostly in the theatre. A new ballet is about to premiere, The Nutcracker. The humans and the mice are hard at work on their productions. The mice face a more difficult challenge. They fear mice will not come to see--pay to see--a play where mice are the villains and are killed. They also fear that mice that are interested in seeing the new ballet, would c
Engel Dreizehn
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good Christmas tale (that can hold it's weight without the Christmas tag) and a re-telling of the Nutcracker only it's from the POV of those putting on the ballet itself...namely the mice! I liked how Esmeralda the mouse re-imagine the Nutcracker tale to make it both mouse-friendly and a pure exercise of her own creative imagination. The illustrations are also good and matches the feel of the narrative.
Jaina Rose
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blogged, d
This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn.

This is the sort of cozy book I would have devoured as a little girl. There's something so appealing about a story set in a far-off country (in this case Russia) during a far-away time (1892) that features anthropomorphic creatures (bal let-dancing talking mice!). Add all the dancing and ballet details to that, plus the one human girl who suspects the truth about the mice, and it's even more absorbing. In addition to all that, the scenario
Thanks to Candlewick for the advanced copy of this book, out in October.
Young Esmeralda mouse, the main character in a new holiday story has quite an adventure while saving a production of The Nutcracker in a marvelous holiday tale from the author of The Gingerbread Pirates and the illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Imagine what mice really think when they learn the story of the new ballet titled The Nutcracker when mice are shown as villains. Hidden in Saint Petersburg’s famed Mari
Eve Costarelli
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just in time for the holiday season, comes a soon-to-be classic retelling of the Nutcracker. In this version, the mice live their animated lives right along side the humans at the Marinsky Theater, the historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia, living in the walls, scavenging for food and dancing ballet. Author Kristin Kladstrup has created an enchanting version of the Nutcracker from the mice’s point of view, bringing the mice to the forefront, and switching around the ro ...more
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
THE NUTCRACKER MICE is a very adorable retelling of the Russian Nutcracker, but from a smaller perspective. Esmeralda the mouse is a rising star and is putting on their version of The Nutcracker. They live under Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg and they get to watch the humans perform their beautiful and entrancing dances.

Even though mice are considered to be vermin, Esmeralda meets Irina, a human nine-year-old who wants to help them. Irina is the daughter of the custodian and may be the on
Priya Sridhar
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Nutcracker is a mainstay ballet. Disney has adapted the music for an animated fairy performance, we hear it around Christmas time, and seeing the dance was an elementary school tradition. In Russia, when the ballet first premieres in St. Petersburg, The Russian Mouse Ballet company decides to perform it. They like the music, and what the humans can do.

The mice just find one problem: the ballet shows the Mouse King as the villain, and is rather short on story substance. They need their show
Melissa Rolli
Jul 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-bookshelf
"The Nutcracker Mice" was an adorable retelling of the Nutcracker from the perspective of the young rising ballet dancing mouse, Esmerelda. Esmerelda and the other mice that live under Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg in 1892 not only get to watch the humans perform the Nutcracker but they put on their own version of the ballet every year. This year the mice and ballet are in danger, which is the meat of this tale. The main plots includes lots of history, and in typical YA/MG fashion an unl ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Kladstrup brings to life the Russian ballet in the late nineteenth century, appealing to her audience by featuring child and mouse main characters and the ballet-in-miniature by the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. The characters are sweet, with big-hearted Irina seeking to help the mice and relatable Esmeralda who struggles to be the prima ballerina because of issues controlling her tail. The text flows nicely, making for an enjoyable and oftentimes exciting read, packed with action scenes that th ...more
Maria Marshall
Nov 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-mg
Kristin's well-paced tale of an adventuresome, determined, inventive, courageous, and loyal group of mice (and two rats), combined with Brett's lively, full-page black ink illustrations (in each chapter), had me totally enthralled. Perhaps because it reminded me a bit of The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, which I adored as a child. With a subtle message of discovering and staying true to oneself, The Nutcracker Mice is an action-packed tale that will appeal to ballet and mice fans a ...more
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dance
This was charming!

The mice dancing with their tails and bringing that onstage definitely parallels some developments in human ballet, though the ones I'm thinking of didn't come as much from folk or social dancing.

I loved the mice recognizing that they didn't want to tell the same story as the humans and that they didn't need to. They could cast off a story that was demeaning to them, that didn't see them sympathetically, and write a new story. They could reclaim the bones of the story and resha
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Kladstrup, Kristin The Nutcracker Mice 316 pages. Candlewick Press, $17.99, Language: G(0 swears, 0 “F”); Mature Content: G; Violence: G

Esmerelda is a mouse who lives beneath the stage of the Saint Petersburg theater. She loves to dance ballet and is excited when she is casted to play the part of Clara in the nutcracker. Things take a wrong turn when Esmerelda finds out the mice are the villains in this ballet. As her debut performance, this dancing mouse want to make a good impression, but will
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this to my daughter, otherwise I might not have picked it up. At Christmas time, she was looking for something to read that was sort of comfortable and pleasant, and this is what I picked to give her as a gift. It was a good choice for that. It’s a simple story that ties together some real info about ballet history and The Nutcracker with a story about talking, dancing mice. It’s sweet and has some magical moments. It’s got a comfortable touch of mouse romance, a not too scary dose of adv ...more
The Russian Ballet Mice Company had grand plans for putting on the Nutcracker, but no mouse really warmed to the idea of portraying themselves as villains. With the help of a little girl, who is an excellent seamstress, Esmeralda and her fellow ballerinas are given the chance to reimagine the ballet with the mice as heroes. Esmeralda has always had trouble keeping her tail from moving during her dancing and for that, she could never be a principal dancer. Esmeralda works hard to do better and he ...more
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
A cute tale that should appeal to MG readers. There wasn't much tension in the story, as things seemed to resolve very quickly and off screen - for example, you're told the mice scrounge for food every night and they successfully got the backdrops, but it's never shown. Also, Maksim suddenly seemed to join the mice at the theater, which made me think I missed a part.

But those are minor issues and overall it was a fun read.
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-e-and-m
I just finishing read this aloud to Ellie and I think I enjoyed it just as much as she did. We liked learning about the history behind the first performances of The Nutcracker (in Russia) and also had a lot of fun imagining what mice would do if they were going to perform it. It was a bit too intense from Marko (he kind of listened from the other room but didn't want to really listening) but was great for Ellie (at age 7).
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a delightful retelling of the Nutcracker featuring a the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. They live and perform in the historic Marinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

While this is sure to be a hit with any fan of the original story, it is also a fun peek at the world from a much smaller point of view.

Even readers who are unsure about the whole ballet bit will enjoy the story which is brimming with adventure wonderful illustrations by Brett Helquist.
Sue Poduska
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
It may seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas stories, but this charming addition to Nutcracker lore is well worth a look. It may be time to start learning about the ballet in preparation. This would be a great read-along chapter-by-chapter for a younger child or a fun story for older children to tackle.
Well this was just adorable AF.

Esmeralda is a young mouse ballerina who is eager to save her slowing eroding ballet troupe. The mice always perform the ballets put on by the human dancers at the St Peterburg's ballet, but this time the humans are performing a show that is clearly offensive to mice: The Nutcracker. Esmeralda does everything she can to adapt the show for a mouse audience and to convince her fans that the only way the ballet will survive is if they break out of their box and try s
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it
This was cute. If I had not just read Lulu, the Broadway Mouse this would have been much better. I did this as an audio book and although the reader was fantastic, there were a lot of characters to keep track of aurally.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This was a cute retelling of The Nutcracker. I liked the food and music and ballet in this story. The characters were okay. No one really stood out, though. Also, the illustrations were lovely.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-for-eliza
I got this book for Eliza because we watched a performance of The Nutcracker this Christmas, and I thought she might like a retelling of the story. It was fanciful and sweet, though it didn’t quite compare to the two other chapter books I just read.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely adorable. What a fun alternative telling of a familiar story!
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a dancer so this book definitely caught my attention. I think it’s really good. It’s fun to see how they use ribbons to practice holding their tails in place.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
We so enjoyed this fun holiday read! A unique, engaging story with great illustrations.
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Kristin Kladstrup is the author of the middle-grade novel THE BOOK OF STORY BEGINNINGS and the picture book THE GINGERBREAD PIRATES. She lives near Boston, Massachusetts.