I loved Disney Read-Along books as a kid and I had a huge collection of them, mostly on cassette and a handful of records that were handed down. Even if I owned the film they were based on, I still enjoyed revisiting these books and their audio elements. In that same tradition, Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is now available as a Disney Read-Along with a book and CD that tells the story.
Clara’s Christmas holiday takes an unexpected turn when she is transported to a world where toys are full size living beings created by her late mother. She discovers that she is a princess of the Four Realms, which are in the midst of a battle between the Sugar Plum Fairy and Mother Ginger. And now Clara is the only one who can restore peace to this magical land that connects her to her mother.
This softcover book uses still images from the film and stylized accents on the pages to bring the world of the Four Realms to life. Kids who are learning to read or refining their skills can follow along with the words on each page. A magical chime is their queue to turn the page to keep up with the story.
The CD is just shy of 19-minutes and is narrated by Jane Windsor, who has a calm soothing voice with a lovely British accent. Music from the film underscores the narration, including James Newton Howard’s original score and his interpretation of the classic Tchaikovsky music. Dialogue from the film is also used, allowing listeners to hear the voices of Mackenzie Foy, Kiera Knightly, and Helen Mirren.
The upcoming holiday fantasy film is rated PG and is guaranteed to have a few moments that may frighten young children. For that reason, this Read-Along book would be a great way to expose them to the full story so they know what to expect on a family outing to the theater. Alternatively, parents who would rather wait until they’re older to face the Mouse King or enter the decrepit Land of Amusements may find that this is an avenue that allows young ones to access the story without the risk of nightmares.
The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: Read-Along Storybook and CD is a great way for kids to learn the exciting story of this new Disney film, or to relive the adventure again and again after becoming obsessed with it at the movie theater. Whatever your reason, this is a high quality retelling of the story using images, music, and audio from the film to experience Clara’s adventure anytime, anywhere.
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.