4 out of 4 stars
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A Christmas Love Story: Nicholas Nutcracker & Brittany Ballerina is a holiday children's book by Maureen McCabe that tells the story of two lonely Christmas ornaments looking for their true love. Nicholas Nutcracker, a retired toy soldier, and Brittany Ballerina, a world-renowned dancer, have been in their respective boxes for a whole year, and they are each hoping to find their true love when Christmas comes back around. When it comes time to be placed on the Christmas tree again, location is everything. Are the two truly destined to be together?
This children's book is short and simple, and it would be great for parents to read to children as young as age 3 or 4. Stronger readers would be able to read it independently, with perhaps a little help from their parents to explain some of the more difficult words. There is also a cute little glossary in the back of the book to define some of the words, such as “marketing strategy” and the French words for ballet terms that come up in the description of Brittany Ballerina.
Some people might be turned off by a book that includes a glossary because it appears “too hard” for their children, but as a parent and teacher, I personally love it. Any time you can introduce a new word to a child in an appropriate and entertaining context, you should. This book provided a few great opportunities to introduce children to new words such as “anticipation” and “pirouette.” I also thought it was cute that the word “tutu” was included in the glossary's list of ballet terms; I can imagine lots of little girls being absolutely thrilled that they already knew the meaning of one of the “hard” words in the work.
The story is accompanied by beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations; the illustrator is credited as Anastasiia Khmelevska. I thought the illustrations were absolutely adorable and perfectly fit with the gentle tone of the book. There was one page that perhaps had a little too much empty white space, but I am being way too nit-picky if that is the only thing I can find wrong in the book.
I give this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to parents who are looking for a unique Christmas story. I definitely feel like this is a story that can grow with a child and be just as enjoyable at age 12 as it is at age 5. The writing, illustrations, and editing are all impeccable. I should also mention that there aren't really any religious references in this book, other than it being Christmas. Of course, it is still a Christmas book, so those who do not celebrate Christmas might not enjoy it as much.
A Christmas Love Story: Nicholas Nutcracker & Brittany Ballerina
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