There are many adaptations and picture book versions of this beloved Christmas tale. I wanted to share some of my favorite picks. All have pictures have by some of my favorite children's book illustrators.
The Nutcracker by Alison Jay
I'm a big fan of Alison Jay as an author and as an illustrator. I'm hooked on her trademark 'crackled' illustrations. The are bold and detailed with great little touches. This is a wonderful adaptation of the original story by E.T.A. Hoffmann suitable for ages 3 & up.
My First Nutcracker by Stephanie True Peters and illustrated by Linda Bronson. Another wonderful adaptation for ages 3 & up, sweetly retold in word and picture. Linda Bronson's trademark sweeping, dreamy illustrations add another wonderful layer to this dream tale of young Clara (Marie) and her Nutcracker Prince. It's especially wonderful for little girls, this is one of my daughters favorite books.
Last is a copy of E.T.A. Hoffman's Nutcracker illustrated by Maurice Sendak and translated by Ralph Manheim. You will find this recommended for ages 4 and up but I would recommend ages 8 and up. This is a rather lengthy text of Hoffman's, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King that has been illustrated. The artwork is trademark illustrations of Sendak similar to those found in his popular book 'Where the Wild Things Are'. I think the illustrations are a wonderful addition to engage children in this classic story.