Monday, December 3, 2018

Reviews from the Children's Section - The Toymaker's Apprentice

One of my favorite genres and one that is the easiest for me to push aside is middle grade fiction. This year to make sure I get a little more children's and young adult fiction I thought I would designate the first Monday of every month Middle Grade Monday (though sometimes it doesn't end up working quite right) .  While a lot of my picks this year are classics I am trying to branch out a little bit and read new or at least recent releases.  This month's book is one that is new to me but is based on an old favorite - The Toymaker's Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith.  

The Toymaker's Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith -

Blurb:  Stefan Drosselmeyer is a reluctant apprentice to his toymaker father until the day his world is turned upside down. His father is kidnapped and Stefan is enlisted by his mysterious cousin, Christian Drosselmeyer, to find a mythical nut to save a princess who has been turned into a wooden doll.

Embarking on a wild adventure through Germany, Stefan must save Boldavia’s princess and his own father from the fanatical Mouse Queen and her seven-headed Mouse Prince, both of whom have sworn to destroy the Drosselmeyer family.

My Thoughts:  I watched The Nutcracker ballet every year when I was a little girl.  Sometimes I loved it, sometimes I hated it depending on what phase I was in but it was always part of Christmas.  I don't think I ever realized that the ballet was based on another story so I can't say how closely this retelling follows the original.  I can say that the story captures the magical weirdness that's runs through the ballet.  I enjoyed the richness of the setting and getting the POV of both Stefan and the rat Ernst.  The world is familiar yet with a twist of magic that really makes it seem rich and vivid.  My only issue is that it did feel like it took a bit for the story to really gain traction once we are introduced to the world and it's characters.  I was instantly pulled it but then felt like it drug a bit for the first third or so.

As a parent I think that I'd be perfectly fine with my 8 year old reading this.  There are some dark themes but to me it never feels scary or overly grim.


  1. This sounds like a good book, I be my grandson would enjoy it. I've never seen The Nutcracker and I don't know why.

  2. That's an interesting tidbit about the Nutcracker. There is movie out that is like an altered version of it. My teen wanted to see it.
    Your last comment made me LOL. I get a bit possessive about items because yeah, kids can be rough on things and don't even think about it. My tween's color pencils look all beat up

  3. I think my granddaughter could really get into this one. Hugs...and sure hope you're feeling better. RO

  4. This sounds interesting. I don't think that I have ever seen the Nutcracker believe it or not.

  5. I've really enjoyed all of Sherri L. Smith's other books, but for some reason I'm reluctant to read this one. I'm not sure why since I love the Nutcracker! I need to just crack it open already and see what I think.

  6. I need to read this! Sherri is the author of the YA Dystopian, Orleans, that I am always buying from Book Outlet and giving away. Same here, watching the Nutcracker was a regular thing for me too. I loved it when the Arts and Entertainment Channel started showing Jazz, Contemporary,and Modern Ballet versions. Do they still do that? I used to go to one or two local live performances a year, but I can't get anyone to go with me now. 😏