The Nutcracker in Harlem

illus. by James Ransome. 32p. HarperCollins/Harper. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780061175985.
K-Gr 3—Marie, an African American child, gets a drummer nutcracker figure from her Uncle Cab for Christmas and dreams about toy soldiers coming to life and their battle with the army of mice. Set in Harlem in the 1920s, this version of the classic tale features black characters, and the music is jazz, not Tchaikovsky. Ransome's watercolor illustrations enhance the story handsomely, and the author's end note gives a brief background on the Harlem Renaissance.
VERDICT This is a fine addition to the canon of retellings of the E.T.A. Hoffmann tale and the perennially favorite holiday ballet.

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