Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

SWEET FOR THE SUITE: An Award-Winning Canadian Nutcracker Story Inspired by Bears!

A SUITE Story:
Woodland Nutcracker (text adaptation by Avril Tyrrell; illustrated by Avril's daughter, Frances Tyrrell) was chosen as The Children's Picture Book of the year in 1999 by the Canadian Book Review Annual.  In her blog, Frances says, "The story was inspired by many camping trips and cottage visits in Canada's boreal forest, 'far away from highways and city lights', where one can travel for days and not meet another human being or even a camera-shy bear".
YukTuk the Polar bear, dancing to strains
of the Russian Dance - and holding a copy
of Woodland Nutcracker! [poster by Frances Tyrrell,
used with permission of the illustrator.]
"Long ago, far away from highways and city lights, where bright stars touched the tree tops and forest roots touched the edges of frozen lakes, a woodland family welcomed relatives and friends
to a Christmas Eve party in their cozy island home.
Softly falling snowflakes drifted into the cottage as the guests arrived..."

This story parallels The Nutcracker Suite Ballet: Clara is given a wonderful carved Nutcracker Bear who transforms into the dashing Nutcracker Prince.

Grandfather Bear and Clara, holding her Nutcracker Bear.

After settling a midnight battle between tin soldiers and invading field mice with a Christmas Eve truce, and giving the hungry mice food for their families, Clara and Nutcracker fly away to the Ice Palace of the Great Bear, Ursa Major.

In 2002, this particular illustration spanned over an outdoor entrance to
 a mall in Toronto, greeting shoppers and passersby!  Woodland Nutcracker
bears were also re-created as life-size figures, positioned at store entries.

At the Great Bear's palace an international cast of bears performs for Clara - juggling pandas and trapeze artist koalas and more, plus some of her dearest woodland friends. 

Mother Ginger with her junior hockey team.

I just ordered this book - so happy it's not out of print - HERE, from Frances Tyrrell's website, Treasure Seeker Studio, which also links to her lovely blog, "Fairy Lanterns", and Etsy shop.

Don't miss this book: Grandmother's Tree, also illustrated by Frances and written by her mother, Avril Tyrrell (found here, at francestyrrell.com).

A SWEET Recipe:
Source: Two Peas and their Pod
How about a little sweet, while you read about The Woodland Nutcracker (or listen to The Nutcracker Suite)?  From my Advent & Christmastide Pinterest Board: White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies!

Right-click HERE to see my posts on these other Nutcracker books.
"Duke Ellington's Nutcracker Suite"
by Anna Harwell Celenza

Susan Jeffers' "The Nutcracker"


  1. Oh gracious, those illustrations look spectacular! We're on a Nutcracker kick right now, as we prepare to see it this weekend. I must add this to my list of versions to find. Thank you!

  2. A lovely review - thank you!
    I have just read and enjoyed your Susan Jeffers post, having admired her work for years.

    1. I'm glad you liked it - her snowflake ballerina picture dazzles me. :)
      Are you famiiar with The Snow Queen, illustrated by Vladyslav Yerko? My daughter said your Woodland Nutcracker illustrations remind her of his detailed artwork (and I concur)!

  3. i love love love LOVE this book -- we own it and it is such a delight!!!

    1. I'm so excited for my copy to arrive. I'm sure I"ll be reading it to my grandchildren for years to come. :)

  4. Gorgeous illustrations in this book, which is one I hadn't heard of yet. Thanks for introducing it to me!