After Maria receives a nutcracker for Christmas, it magically comes alive after she falls asleep. What adventures await her in the Land of Sweets?


Maria Stahlbaum – The Brave Heroine

Godfather Drosselmeier – The Mysterious Inventor

The Nutcracker – The Magical Object

The Mouse-King – The Midnight Menace

Boy – The Handsome Prince

Ballerina – The Sparkling Dancer


On Christmas Eve, the Stahlbaum family is lavished with gifts from Godfather Drosselmeier. Young Maria takes a shine to a Nutcracker, and her father allows her to be its special caretaker. But before long, Maria’s brother breaks the Nutcracker’s jaw. Maria is heartbroken, and stays up late to tend to the Nutcracker. She falls asleep.

Maria soon awakes to the sound of squeaking and whimpering of mice. Their leader, the Mouse-King, emerges from a wall. The Nutcracker, the wooden soldiers and the other toys in the room suddenly come alive and meet the menacing rodents in battle! The Nutcracker and the toys fight bravely, but are soon overwhelmed. Just as the Nutcracker is about to be taken prisoner, Maria tosses a slipper at the Mouse-King. He topples to the ground, and the ugly Nutcracker turns into a handsome young boy.

The boy takes Maria’s hand and invites her on a journey to the Land of Sweets. They walk through Christmas Wood, Candy Meadow, and pass the Almond and Raisin Gate until they come to the Capital. There, they are showered with sweets and entertained by dancers from every nation in the world. And to Maria’s surprise, the citizens of the Land of Sweets address the boy as their Prince!

Maria awakes in her own bed to find her Nutcracker beside her, healed and whole. At dinner that night, Maria meets Godfather Drosselmeier’s nephew. He confesses to Maria that he was trapped inside the Nutcracker until she set him free. Maria and the nephew fall in love, and they live happily ever after in the Land of Sweets!



Cozy Classics uses a simple one word/one image format to help babies and toddlers build vocabulary and learn everyday concepts such as body parts, emotions, animals, relationships, actions, and opposites. However, Cozy Classics organizes everyday words in a more unique way: through story. By putting words in the context of a story, our books help children find further meaning through a growing sense of narrative.

As children get older, parents can expand on the stories in ever more elaborate ways. If you need a little help, just use the brief synopsis on the back of each book or the longer synopses (the Cozy version) above. But there’s no right or wrong way to read Cozy Classics. Use the words and images as prompts to invent stories of your own and encourage your children to do the same.

Parents can enliven their storytelling with quotations from the originals. Below are some of our favorites from The Nutcracker that go well with “the Cozy version.” Quotations can lead to whole passages until one day children are enthralled by the richest versions of all: the classics themselves.


Quotations from The Nutcracker

  •  “Dear Maria, since friend Nutcracker is so great a favorite with you, I place him under your particular care and keeping…” … “Ah! Nutcracker, Nutcracker, do not be angry at brother Fred because he hurt you so, he did not mean to be so rough.”
  • Maria begged very hard, “Only leave me here a little while longer, dear mother. I have two or three things to attend to, and when they are done I will go immediately to bed.”
  • “…she saw the Mouse-King work his way out of a hole in the wall, then run, with sparkling eyes and crowns, around and around the chamber…”
  • Of the scene that now presented itself you can have no idea, good reader. I went prr—prr—puff—clitter—clattter—bom, burum—bom, burum—bom—in the wildest confusion, while the Mouse-King and mice squeaked and screamed, and now and then the mighty voice of Nutcracker was heard, and he gave the necessary orders, and he was seen striding along through the battalions in the hottest of the fire.
  • “Oh my poor Nutcracker!” she cried, sobbing, and without being exactly conscious of what she did, grasped her left shoe, and threw it with all her strength into the thicket of the mice, straight at their king.
  • Nutcracker then arose, and said: “Best, kindest Miss Stahlbaum, you know not what beautiful things I could show you at this moment while my enemy lies vanquished, if you would have the condescension to follow me for a few steps.”
  • “Ah, how delightful it is here!” cried Maria, entranced in happiness. “We are in Christmas Wood, best miss,” said Nutcracker.
  • Then they brought the finest fruits and sugar-things, such as Maria had never seen before…
  • …immediately the shepards and shepardesses danced a very pretty ballet… “Ah, it was all very pretty, and pleased me very much,” said Maria, as she rose, and followed Nutcracker.
  • They embraced Nutcracker in the tenderest manner, and cried with joyful sobs: “Oh, my prince, my best prince!”
  • But she opened her eyes, and there she lay upon her little bed; it was bright day, and her mother stood by here saying: “How can you sleep so long? Breakfast has been ready this great while.”
  • Scarcely was Maria alone with young Drosselmeier, when he stooped upon one knee, and said: “Oh, my very best Miss Stahlbaum, you see here at your feet the happy Drosselmeier, whose life you saved on this very spot… From that moment, I ceased to be a miserable Nutcracker, and resumed again my old—and, I hope, not disagreeable—figure.