Written by Liza Alexander
Illustrator Tom Cooke
Published 1990
Publisher Astor Books
Series All About Music
ISBN 094335138

Big Bird Presents the Nutcracker is a 1990 Sesame Street book and tape set in the "All About Music" series. Big Bird hosts and narrates an audio adaptation of Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker, with his friends assuming parts in the story and ballet. Similar to the other "All About Music" tapes, and unlike most Sesame book and tape sets, the book provides illustrations and minimal text, while the tape is a "musical drama" (as described on packaging) with dialogue which is not reproduced in the book.

One Christmas Eve, Clara (Prairie Dawn) receives a Nutcracker (Grover), and leaves cookies for Santa Claus. The Nutcracker comes to life and fights the Mouse King (played by Cookie Monster); in this version, the fight is not over Clara, but because the Mouse King is trying to eat all of the cookies. The rest of the story is otherwise fairly familiar: a well-placed shoe (or rather, bunny slipper) tossed by Clara drives off the King.

To celebrate, the Nutcracker-Prince takes Clara on a magical journey through a forest to the Kingdom of Sweets (where everything is made of candy, pastry, or other dessert substances). There, the Sugar Plum Fairy greets them and presents a number of dances:

  • Dance of the Chocolate Bar (Chocolate or Spanish Dance; Placido Flamingo)
  • Dance of the Ice Cream Sundae (Elmo)
  • Dance of the Cupcakes (Trepak or Russian Dance; Bert and Ernie as cupcake cossacks)
  • Dance of the Candy Cane (Betty Lou)
  • Dance of the Gingerbread Men (Ma Ginger and Her Children; the Honkers)
  • Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Finally, everyone (including Clara's parents and siblings) join in "The Grand Waltz" (Final Waltz). Near the end, the Mouse King suddenly arrives and starts biting into the candy cane archway pillars. Inspired, all the guests join him in eating the palace, and Clara and the Nutcracker-Prince say goodbye.




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