Just in time for the holidays, Crown Publishers has reissued its Maurice Sendak-illustrated Nutcracker
, based on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s tale of a young girl who falls asleep and dreams she’s a princess in a fantasy world made up of a nutcracker prince, a mouse king and dancing sugarplums (among other things). The book was re-released just months after Sendak’s death — and nearly 30 years after he designed the sets and costumes for Seattle’s Pacific Northwest Ballet Nutcracker production, on which he based his illustrations for the book’s first edition in 1984. While many of the book’s images were created from original stage sketches, as Sendak explains in the book’s introduction, he developed others to capture “the mad spirit of Hoffmann’s mad story.” Fans of Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
, which turns 50 in 2013, will appreciate his imaginative take on this holiday classic.