Sunday, October 30, 2011

" Woodland Nutcracker"

Our beautiful WoodlandNutcracker book, which was chosen as The Children's Picture Book of the year in 1999 by the Canadian Book Review Annual, was orphaned earlier this year when the publisher went out of business. We are fortunate to have obtained the remaining books from the publisher's warehouse, boxes of mint-new copies full of Christmas magic and adventure.

As with the earlier Woodland Christmas, 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. In a story that parallels the Nutcracker ballet, Clara is given a wonderful carved Nutcracker Bear who transforms into the dashing Nutcracker Prince. After settling a midnight battle between the tin soldiers and invading field mice with a Christmas Eve truce, giving the hungry mice food for their families, Clara and Nutcracker fly away to the Ice Palace of the Great Bear, Ursa Major.

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. I have made two posters from the illustrations, grizzly bear Mother Ginger with her junior hockey team, and the polar bear Yuk Tuk dancing to the strains of the Russian Dance, pictured below. For the purposes of the poster I have placed a copy of the book in her gracefully extended paw!Sorting through the book images I rediscovered this little Nutcracker soldier, whom I have added to the title bar as a friendly exclamation point.

We are dedicating a portion of our sales of Woodland Nutcracker to benefit St. Matthew's House, a charitable agency in the Diocese of Niagara. We are taking the books to several Christmas fairs and the posters will show off the illustrations from across crowded rooms. The books will also be up on my Etsy shop shortly and I will be happy to sign copies or add a small embellishment for the finishing touch.