On Christmas Eve, Marie Stahlbaum huddles in the dark with her brother, Fritz, waiting for the Christ Child to come. When their parents open the doors to the parlor, the scene that awaits them is mesmerizing: a Christmas tree aglow with candles and more toys than they could have imagined. Godfather Drosselmeir has made them a fine castle with dancing ladies and leaping men, a clever toy fox, and battalions of soldiers. But Marie falls in love when she finds the one last gift tucked under the tree - the Nutcracker
Gennady Spirin was classically educated at the Moscow Art School at the Academy of Arts and at the Moscow Stroganov Institute. Influenced by Russian Renaissance painters, Mr. Spirin has developed his own unique style of illustration using traditional Russian art techniques. His work appeared four times on the annual New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Books of the Year list. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey.