Sometimes you just want to have the original. This is one of the earliest known English translation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s classic children’s tale, “Nutcracker and Mouse-King,’ which was penned in German in 1816. While Alexandre Dumas, père was making this story famous in France, this translation by Mrs. St. Simon was making it popular in the English-speaking world. The stage was set for Tchaikovsky to bring the story into the 20th century in his famous ballet. This edition carefully re-constructs the text of the 1853 edition, and also includes the original woodcut illustrations that accompanied it. At Christmas, you want to read aloud to your children the same stories that delighted countless other children over the decades and centuries over the holidays. If that is what you’re looking for, this edition is for you. Or, if you just trying to fathom what on earth Tchaikovsky is portraying in his ballet, reading an early English translation that aimed to be faithful to the original is a great start.