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Reviewed by Jessica Barbosa for Readers' Favorite
Daniel Lee Nicholson's Prince Dustin and Clara is a unique spin-off on the well-loved tale of the Nutcracker Prince, one that will take you into an epic adventure of friendship and bravery. It will appeal to children, teens, and adults who are young at heart. Clara Stahlbaum is a sweet, twelve-year-old girl who falls in love with a nutcracker doll given to her by her Uncle Drosselmeyer. Little does she know that her nutcracker prince is an actual prince, Prince Dustin, turned into a doll by her wizard uncle to protect him from the evil Mouse King, who figured out the wizard's plans and has come to the Stahlbaums house to kill the prince. Prince Dustin is saved by Clara and, for her safety, he whisks her away into an adventure she's only ever dreamed of. Fighting evil mice kings, meeting new friends, saving her prince, Clara is in for a journey that will change her life and teach her a valuable lesson: that being brave doesn't mean not being afraid, it means not letting the fear stop you from doing what is right.
This is a classic revived and made even more adventurous and exciting. It will leave the reader on the edge of their seat and in constant anticipation of what comes next. It's a great mixture of fantasy and adventure, without losing the classic edge that makes it one of a kind. I really enjoyed the twist placed by the author when it came to how the nutcracker prince was turned into a doll, as well as the descriptions of the toys which Clara's uncle made. The characters and the creatures that Clara and Prince Dustin met in the forest were interesting, and the way they bonded in a short time, and how they forged strong bonds through their adventures were amazing. Even the way the dancers were described gave me a hint of nostalgia for the classics. This is truly an exceptional book, one that made me long for my childhood and wish that I had had this book to read to myself every night.