Misha's Nutcracker is a 184-page novel (for ages eight
and up) about an orphan pre-teen boy, Misha. Living on the streets
in St. Petersburg, Russia, he sneaks into a theatre where his life
is forever changed. He meets a seamstress, a carpenter, a ballerina,
and other theater workers involved in the production of the Nutcracker.
They take him under their wing, and in so doing let him into a
new world that he never knew existed.
Readers will learn some aspects of life in Russia. At the back
of the book are two glossaries; the glossary of names helps with
pronunciation, and the glossary of terms aids in understanding
some of the cultural aspects of the book.
Beautiful illustrations by Alexander "Sasha" Spivak, many in full
color, decorate the pages. His unique artistic style is called "Poetic
Symbolism." My daughters wish these were on or near the same page
as the text to which they correspond, especially to help clarify
some ambiguous parts of the story.
Grisha, another street kid who is 14 years old and a friend of
Misha's, smokes and drinks (sometimes to excess) and shows a small
view of the harder side of the street. At times, my daughters (and
husband) found the story line confusing or difficult to follow.
Hope and love prevail even though Misha endures hardships, fear,
disappointment, and apparent danger. My daughters, who are ten
and twelve, found the story compelling and exciting.