The Nutcracker is one of the most famous ballets in the world and Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms pays homage to the story’s most traveled medium. Misty Copeland stars as the Ballerina of the Realms and children who leave the film inspired to dance will surely be inspired by her. The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms is a picture book that stars this character and calls back to her mesmerizing scene.
The Ballerina of the Realms addresses the child reading this book directly, using dance to tell the story of how the Four Realms came to be and how Clara arrived there. It then follows Clara’s adventures in the realms, bringing readers through key moments from the film. The text by Calliope Glass draws out a clear moral for kids to take away while enriching them in a world of dance imagery.
Marco Bucci provides rich and lush illustrations with a wonderful esthetic. The Ballerina is bathed in light in every illustration, making her the focus of your attention even when other characters appear on the page. He translates the vivid designs from the film and makes them his own while remaining faithful to the imagery you expect. The cover also features glitter accents surrounding the ballerina.
Misty Copeland provides a forward that explains her lifelong connection to The Nutcracker and how much it meant to her to receive a call to appear in Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. While kids may be tempted to skip past it, young ballerinas or kids interested in learning the craft are encouraged to read about Misty’s career in the arts.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Dance of the Realms is a beautiful book and kids who enjoy the film are sure to love it. However, it loses points for reading more like a Wikipedia summary of the film rather than an original spin-off as the title suggests. Parents and kids alike would likely be more satisfied with a story about the Ballerina of the Realms rather than using her to repeat a story about Clara that they’re already familiar with.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.