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It is Christmas and 12-year-old Bettina Larson is facing a grave responsibility. Her grandmother has fallen, and Bettina’s parents must leave for a few days, leaving Bettina in charge of herself, their farm, and her baby sister, Pia. In all the chaos of this day, the Larson’s forget to leave a bowl of rice pudding for the nisse, a tiny elf-like being who, according to Danish myth, helps farmers take care of their land and livestock. When nisse are disrespected, they become mischievous. The Larson’s nisse, Klakke, is no exception, but his mischief goes a bit too far. The next thing Bettina knows, little Pia is gone, and Bettina is on the most important mission of her young life.

Michelle Houts has taken a popular story of the Danish culture and turned it into an absolutely charming story for the middle grade set (and adults who have sense enough to read this one). The character of Bettina is smart, brave, and determined, but open to the stories her grandfather had told. The other characters, an extended family of nisse, are perfectly magical little people, and the story will bewitch readers. This should become a holiday classic.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Candlewick
Publish Date 2014-Sep-09
ISBN 9780763665654 Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Tweens


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