The Toymaker’s Apprentice


Winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Assoc. Book Award for Middle Grade

A gorgeously imagined Nutcracker retelling from award-winning author making her middle-grade debut.

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. Based on the original inspiration for the Nutcracker ballet, Sherri L. Smith brings the Nutcracker Prince to life in this fascinating journey into a world of toymaking, magical curses, clockmaking guilds, talking mice and erudite squirrels.

It was a dreary day for the time of year in Nuremberg.


“Part Nutcracker with a dash of Pinocchio, this middle grade debut by YA author Smith is an absorbing tale of adventure, invention, family loyalty, and sly humor. Bursting with unforgettable characters of both species (and a few others), the novel rushes along to its inevitable final battle and enlightening conclusion… Fans of both genres will relish this highly recommended historical fantasy.”

School Library Journal, Starred Review

“…a big, swift-moving tale, bursting with invention…it transcends its sources to become something altogether new.”

Ben Tripp, author of The Accidental Highwayman

“Men and mice engage in mortal conflict in this multilayered retelling of The Nutcracker…No sweet strains of Tchaikovsky’s ballet score waft through this complex tale of family devotion, revenge, and warfare. A fast-paced adventure…”

Kirkus Review

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Publisher: G.P. Putnam and Sons
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fantasy
Hardcover: 400 pages