49 – The Nutcracker and the Mouse King

Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker ballet is the most famous and long-running holiday tradition worldwide, but when it first came out it was a flop! The story the ballet is based on has had the opposite fate. When it was first published in 1816, Nussknacker und Mauseköning — The Nutcracker and the Mouse King — by E.T.A. Hoffman was wildly popular, but today it is little known outside the German-speaking world.

The Nutcracker and the Mouse King has inspired an uncountable number of adaptations. Tchaikovsky’s is the most famous, but there are many story books, films, stage plays, and works of art based on this story. This year, give yourself the gift of rediscovering this Christmas classic.

Activity: Create your own adaptation

Musicians, artists, storytellers, dancers, and crafters from around the world have all drawn inspiration from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. You and your students can draw inspiration from this story too! Try one of the following:

      • Create dolls made of paper, felt, fabric, or anything you like to represent the characters in the story. You could even turn them into decorations for a Christmas tree.
      • Act out your favorite scene from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.
      • Draw or paint an illustration for one or more of the pages of the story.
      • Create a dance based on a scene from the story.