Sean Hayes and his husband, Scott Icenogle, are making their picture-book debuts with a most festive endeavor: Plum, designed as a prequel to The Nutcracker. The couple jointly wrote the children’s book, which tells the story of how the Sugar Plum Fairy received her wings and is slated for release by Simon & Schuster Young Readers in the fall.
A blizzard threatens to ruin Christmas as Plum begins, leaving its eponymous heroine, who lives at an orphanage, to figure out a way to save the day. Her generosity starts her on an amazing adventure: She journeys to the Land of Sweets but finds that it’s turning sour because of a mysterious sadness in the kingdom. If she can find a way to save the realm, her greatest wish might just come true.
The book is a passion project for Hayes and Icenogle. “Scotty and I were watching a televised marathon of different productions of The Nutcracker, and we started wondering, ‘Where did these characters come from?’” Hayes said in a statement when the book was announced last year. “We decided to write a story about the history of Plum since ‘Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy’ is not only one of the most popular pieces from The Nutcracker, it’s also the most enchanting and mystical. Our book gives children a glimpse into the past of one of the most beloved characters from one of the most beloved stories of all time, and it allows Scotty and I a chance to relive a part of our own childhood.”
Hayes recently reprised his Emmy-winning Will & Grace role for the show’s NBC revival, while Icenogle (The History of Comedy) is a composer and producer. Plum is illustrated by debut picture book artist Robin Thompson.
EW can exclusively reveal the cover for Plum, as well as a few enchanting artwork samples by Thompson. Check them out below, and pre-order the book ahead of its Oct. 16 release here.