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Release Date
September 09, 2014
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An ordinary Danish Christmas turns extraordinary when a family overlooks an important folkloric tradition. Christmas has come, and with it a sparkling white winterfrost over the countryside. But twelve-year-old Bettina’s parents have been called away unexpectedly, leaving her in charge of the house, the farm, and baby Pia. In all the confusion, Bettina’s family neglects to set out the traditional bowl of Christmas rice pudding for the tiny nisse who are rumored to look after the family and their livestock. No one besides her grandfather ever believed the nisse were real, so what harm could there be in forgetting this silly custom? But when baby Pia disappears during a nap, the magic of the nisse makes itself known. To find her sister and set things right, Bettina must venture into the miniature world of these usually helpful, but sometimes mischievous folk. A delightful winter adventure for lovers of the legendary and miraculous.

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Delightful Winter Read
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Bettina's family is thrown into confusion on Christmas day when her mother must rush off to take care of a her grandmother, who has fallen. Bettina's father was already on his way for an annual visit to a querulous elderly relative, so leaving Bettina alone with one year old baby Pia seems like the best idea-- the nearby Pedersens will look in on her and help her take care of all of the farm animals. Things go fairly well until Klakke, the barn nisse who has lived with Bettina's family since her birth, gets upset because the family forgot his Christmas bowl of rice pudding and starts to get mischevious. He puts rosemary in the goat feed, hides tools, and then in an inspired moment, steals baby Pia when she is left outside. Pia is in turn stolen again, and it turns out that Klakke is involved in a family row with a relative named Ulf who used to work for Bettina's family, and once that is sorted out, he is willing to give Pia back, just in time for Bettina's parents to arrive home.

This is a charming winter read, complete with great descriptions of the wintery Danish forest covered in frost as well as the warm and cozy nisse houses. This had the magical charm of a much older book, and I can imagine many of my readers who like magical realism wanting to run off and find nisse to visit.
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