On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree - the Nutcracker. Readers of all ages will be enchanted by the stories-within-stories that are as intricate as the toys constructed by Godfather Drosselmeir for Fritz and Marie. Award-winning Roberto Innocenti's detailed illustrations are equally rich and complex, from the attack of the mouse army to Marie's Journey through Candy Meadow, Christmas Forest, and Bonbonville. Never have the richness and pleasures of Christmas come so alive as in this new edition of Nutcracker - sure to become a treasured tradition shared between friends and family every holiday season.