It's that time of year, time for the Nutcracker. If you are interested in reading both of the stories that inspired the ballet, I highly recommend Nutcracker and Mouse King and The Tale of the Nutcracker by E. T. A. V. Hoffmann (Author), Alexandre Dumas (Author), Joachim Neugroschel (Translator) and Jack Zipes (Introduction).
The better news, discovered when I was looking up the book again, is that it is currently bargain priced in the paperback edition for $5.60 (the cover image is wrong) and it is also available in ebook format, but that isn't bargain priced right now.
The original stories behind everyone's favorite Christmas ballet
It wasn't until the 1950s that seeing The Nutcracker at Christmastime became an American tradition. But the story itself is much older and its original intent more complex. This eye-opening new volume presents two of the tale's earliest versions, both in new translations: E.T.A. Hoffmann's Nutcracker and Mouse King (1816), in which a young girl is whisked away to the Land of Toys to help her animated nutcracker defeat the Mouse King, and Alexandre Dumas's 1845 adaptation, The Tale of the Nutcracker, based on Hoffmann's popular work. Irresistible tales of magic, mystery, and childhood adventure, these timeless delights and fresh interpretations about the importance of imagination will captivate readers of all ages.
I bought this one when it was first released and recommend it for the introduction and inclusion of both stories. It's an easy way to learn more about a holiday tradition.