Misha’s Nutcracker is a timeless holiday tale set around Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Ballet in modern-day St. Petersburg, Russia. When his beloved mother unexpectedly dies and Misha finds himself living with a sour drunk of a great-aunt, he runs away. Homeless on the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, he is befriended by Grisha, another homeless boy with great street smarts in whom the warmth of human kindness flows. When Grisha is surrounded by cops after trying to snatch some fruit from a sidewalk stand, Misha continues alone in his daily quest for food and shelter. Aimlessly wandering the streets, he one day manages to sneak in the back door of a strange building. There, Misha finds himself surrounded by the magic of a theatre production of “The Nutcracker”.
While running away from a firefighter, Misha discovers a huge and mysterious theatre attic, where a pile of soft rags serves as his makeshift bed. As he drifts off to sleep, the soaring violins playing Tchaikovsky’s famous music which gently lift him “up and away, far above the city to a fantastic fairyland.” So begins Misha’s love for the theatre and ballet.
Misha finds allies among the production crew and even dreams of joining the young dancers on stage, but his dreams suddenly turns into a nightmare. Alone and lost, he must use all his street smarts to escape from the cruel Mouse King and earn his place in the theatre. In the process, can he outwit the police and the people from Children’s Services who might put him in an orphanage? Most importantly, can he find love, acceptance, and a future?
This vivid tale of friendship, kindness and love reflects the eternal human need to find both one’s purpose and one’s place in life.
Like “Oliver Twist,” Roman Yakub says, “Misha does not know his own strength until caring people help him.”
Roman Yakub is an acclaimed composer whose music has been performed in Europe and America. He received several prestigious muscial prizes including first prize in the Ithaca College Choral Composition Compeition, National Telly Award, ASCAP Annual Composer Award and others. After receiving his Doctorate in Musical Composition from Boston University, he and his partners created a series of classical music computer games for children. The Nutcracker Music Game, Mozart’s Magic Flute Music Game, Alice in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Music Game, and Discover Bach! Music Game have received numerous awards at the national and international levels. The Nutcracker Music Game inspired Roman Yakub to write his first book in collaboration with his dearest friend Elaine Ulman. Roman Yakub lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with his wife Irina and his son Sasha.
Elaine Ulman began her love affair with Russian language and literature in highschool. She received a Master’s in Russian Studies from Yale University. While directing international exchange programs for an institute in Amherst, Massachusetts, she met Roman Yakub. Thereafter they collaborated on many cultural exchanges with Russian and Ukraine. Misha’s Nutcracker is their first literary joint effort.
Alexander “Sasha” Spivak has been living and working in the United States since 1989. A well known artist, his paintings are in great demand in the modern art markets. Throughout his career Alexander Spivak has deveolped a unique, refined style known as “Poetic Symbolism”. This is his first children’s book.
Details of the book: Misha’s Nutcracker
Author: Roman Yakub in collaboration with Elaine Ulman
Illustrated: Alexander “Sasha” Spivak, Additional drawings by Irina Lanina and Sergei Bukur
Publisher Date: 2009
Publisher: Arts and Music Games Inc.
Number of Pages: 188
Retail Price: $15.95
Language: English with Russian names and references (See Glossary for some words and phrases pronunciation and explanation.)
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