When our daughter Leigh tried out to dance in The Nutcracker ballet, she really wanted to be a doll, but her teacher cast her as a tree. She was not happy – until she saw the tree costume. It was amazing, much better than any of the doll costumes. I changed Leigh’s name to Noel and the story of NUTCRACKER NOEL pretty much wrote itself. When the book came out, Leigh said she deserved a bigger allowance because Jim and I had ‘used her life’ for our material. She was right!