The original story that inspired the Tchaikovsky ballet, The Nutcracker is a magical story of one little girl's decent into a dream-like world where the diabolical Mouse King rules… Best known as the inspiration for Tchaikovsky's ballet, The Nutcracker is a charming book in its own right. Full of magic and childish wonder, this coming-of-age novella by E.T.A. Hoffmann has something for everyone: beautiful dolls, ferocious battles and dark undertones. It truly has all the elements of a fairy tale. Younger readers will be enchanted by this children's classic, while older readers will be intrigued to discover the background to the famous ballet libretto. It is Christmas Eve and Marie has tired of her new presents, happily playing with a nutcracker instead. When the clock strikes midnight, she is stunned to see an army of mice advancing, led by a seven-headed Mouse King. Her very own nutcracker comes alive, leading the dolls and toys against the mouse army and a violent battle ensues. Soon after, her godfather comes for a visit and tells her the story of the nutcracker. As the tale unfolds, Marie learns about the ongoing feud between the mice and their enemy Princess Pirlipat. It sounds fanciful, but could it be true? This timeless tale is full of the magic of Christmas, but is a delight to read at any time of the year. Its enduring popularity is testament to its originality and charm.