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Winterfrost

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  545 ratings  ·  132 reviews
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
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Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Candlewick Press
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  545 ratings  ·  132 reviews


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Isa Lavinia


ARC provided by Candlewick Press through Netgalley

“The forests are full of tales unheard, if only humans would pause their busyness to listen.”

The inhabitants of the Larsen Farm are getting ready for Christmas: lighted candles hang from the tree's boughs, nisse figurines line the mantle, and the house is filled with the scent of kringle, wood smoke, and the duck roasting in the oven.

...Until a phone call whisks Bettina's parents away, leaving her in charge of the farm, her baby sister
...more
Kathryn
I feel that 3 STARS is a tad generous as I really didn't enjoy the story that much but 2 STARS just feels a bit harsh. There's really nothing glaringly *wrong* with the story, and it looks like many people liked it, but to me it just didn't feel particularly well-developed in terms of plot or character development and it was not the charming, enchanting story I expected. I might have been more willing to gloss over the flat characters and a rather unexciting story if the writing had been a bit m ...more
Shannon
Feb 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, 2015-for-fun
This was a completely enchanting book. I started it with the kids a few weeks ago, by the fire, on a cold night, and we all fell in love with it. I was a little surprised, because it's definitely a middle-grade novel and they are only 4 and 6. The pace is almost glacial at first, with a lot of unfamiliar words and similes and metaphor, but they fell into the rhythm and the story and it became something wonderful to look forward to in the evenings after the little one went to bed. Nothing really ...more
Qt
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 stars for me. It was pleasant and enjoyable, but not one that really gripped me. I think I would have enjoyed it more when I was little.
Ken Fredette
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Michelle actually did me a favor in writing this book for I was able to read it and watch my father-in-law at the same time (he's 104). Bettina will be in my thoughts forever and Pia will be there also. I will think of this story over and over and how the nisse reacted to Bettina's plight. I recommend this book for anyone's reading.
Ian
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, middle-grade
A fun fantasy read for middle to early YA readers! The plot, although a wee bit predictable, was enjoyable, but the characters are what made this story. Central to the book are the nisse, essentially the Danish equivalent to the 'brownie' of the British Isles-- gnome-like creatures of folklore who secretly perform domestic tasks and chores for a household in return for a rice pudding set out every Christmas. But when the family forgets to observe this custom, mischief ensues. When her baby siste ...more
Jessica
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A charming new addition to our family's Christmas library!

On a small Danish farm, a young girl and her baby sister are left alone when an accident befalls their grandmother far away. Young Bettina is resourceful, and does all the chores just so. . . with the exception of forgetting to leave out a dish of Christmas rice pudding for the nisse (gnome) who her grandfather always said lived in their barn. But a forgotten nisse is a mischievous nisse, and now Bettina has trouble on her hands!
Pam
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mommy-s-shelf
This book is absolutely amazing. I love Scandinavian tales and especially so when they are written so charmingly. This book reminds me of Astrid Lindgren's "The Children of Noisy Village" which I adore.

I highly recommend reading this story!

page 40, I was so startled to read about babies being put outside in almost any weather to nap, "'Children need fresh air,' Mormor would say, and every Danish mother would agree. Rain or shine, winterfrost or no winterfrost, Danish babies must be set outside t
...more
Bookdragonqueenljs22
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's a good book and very surprising.
Niki (nikilovestoread)
I had high hopes for Winterfrost, which promised a tale blending a modern Christmas with Danish folklore. Unfortunately, it fell a little short for my children and I. It just wasn't as magical as expected and the premise ended up being a big unbelievable (not the Danish folklore, but the idea that parents would leave their 12 year old daughter alone with her under one year old sister and no adults in sight). We did enjoy Bettina's time spent in the world of nisse and learning about the Danish fo ...more
Sarah
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Check out this review, and others like it, at my book blog, Bookmarks and Coffee Mugs!

I received an ARC of Winterfrost from Candlewick Press after winning it in a Goodreads giveaway (thank you, Candlewick Press!). It’s a children’s book, but that didn’t put me off at all; I think children’s books are some of the best books ever written (like Chronicles of Narnia, Matilda, Wizard of Oz, etc.). Reading that it was about Danish gnomes, or nisse, and it was set in Christmastime in Denmark, I was exp
...more
Jack Huff
Dec 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Great book! I found myself often identifying with the main character when I was her age, finding such joy in the rare perfect snow days and the stress of looking out for a younger sibling! I think that most people can relate to something in this book, whether it is the vivid descriptions of holiday dinners, taking care of barnyard animals, or remembering the first time the held down their family's home for the first time. The Magical elements in the books were well written. I really enjoyed the ...more
X
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Two stars seems so harsh, because it was not a bad book at all, and yet it really was just okay for me. I loved the idea of it, but I never felt connected to the characters, and the ending left many loose ends. It could have been so much better, and I am disappointed it wasn't.
Ginger
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute, adventure story set in wintertime. It as a fun book to read in January.
jenn
Dec 04, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. Very cute
Manon
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! It was such a cute, quirky, wintry tale, and it was hard to put down!
Leila
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Plot was all over the place and it was really hard to get through. I used this book for a middle school book club and no one got through it.
Anne
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
There are many things to like about this book. The descriptions of the Danish winter are beautiful, especially that of the winterfrost (literally a frost in winter). Bettina’s motivations are always clear and I liked the idea of discovering nisse, mythical creatures who turn out to be real. Unfortunately, that’s where my enjoyment of this book stops, as the plot goes downhill rather quickly. First, there’s very little discovery of any magical world after Bettina’s initial contact with the nisse ...more
✨Jinglemarco✨  Маркуша - Мишутка (Nursery rhymes enthusiast)*

3.5 stars.

"The forests are fully of tales unheard, if only humans would pause their business to listen."

It is as a tender tale, this Winterfrost, as a simple one. Advisable, really, to whom love to read winter tale in winter time, and stories around nordic or not so usual mythology. I've really liked it, and I have to say I like the cover, too!

It is the seer, after all, who must slow down enough to take note of the world around her.

Rachael
Jan 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
One of these stars is probably just for personal enjoyment. This is such a charming, gentle little book. Recommended for fairy/elf fans, seekers of good Christmas stories, and Scandinavia enthusiasts.
Maren Prestegaard
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
We LOVED this book. Ending dragged a little but an awesome story about looking for magic, snowy Denmark and the nisse. Will remember this as the first chapter book I read with little M. Asking lots of questions and wanting "another chapter Mom".
Cathy
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you liked Gnomes by Wil Huygen (Author),‎ Rien Poortvliet (Illustrator), you'll probably enjoy this charming Christmas tale. It's aimed at grades 3-7 but it's adorable.
Melanie
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I REALLY liked this story. I had just gotten finished walking through the forest with my oldest daughter (now 8) who was convinced there is no such things as fairies, trolls, or woodland nymphs and that a super cool looking tree could only be home to an owl or maybe a squirrel, scoffing at my suggestion that it looked the perfect fairy home. I don't know why, but it made me kind of sad. So, the timing on this book was JUST perfect and just what I was craving.

Nisse live in barns and help take ca
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⚜️Krithika⚜️
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enchanting and utterly unique!

Bettina Larrsen lives with her family on a farm in Lolland, Denmark. Bettina's mom (mor) and father (far) have gone off visiting family. Leaving Bettina, and her baby sister Pia alone at home.

But soon, the unthinkable happens, Pia is stolen by a gnome-like creature called a nisse who normally would never do something as drastic as that. When Bettina learns that her sister has been taken by a nisse, she can hardly believe what unfolds before her eyes.

She is lead in
...more
Katrina
I really enjoyed the cozy, Scandanavian setting, and there is some excitement in the first act. But once it gets going, it turns out there is basically no plot--definitely not enough for a whole book. And a lot of what's there didn't make a ton of sense. She's not angry enough with the kidnappers or fierce enough about protecting her baby sister. (view spoiler) ...more
Sandy Brehl
Full disclaimer: I am a huge fan of the Scandinavian gnome traditions.
Hours has lent her readable and charming writing style to a novel with equal parts heartwarming traditional details and gut-wrenching angst about a stolen baby. Twelve-year-old Bettina is facing the traumatic challenges of having failed to protect her baby sister but persists and remains determined to restore little Pia to their Danish family circle. This is a deceptively quick read that begs to be read aloud, reread, and exp
...more
Rosie
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 Stars for "Winterfrost" written by author Michelle Houts is a book I found hard to put down. Readers, ages 8-12, will love the descriptive writing, characters, and scenery.
What should of been a normal Danish Christmas for Bettina and her baby sister, a turn of events takes them on many twists and turns in this lovely tale.
I hope to see "Winterfrost" as a film in the future.
Beautiful story Michelle Houts.
(I received a hardcover copy of this book at our local library.)
Melissa
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, atmospheric and charming tale steeped in the mythos of Denmark. A lovely read for children at Christmas or winter. Surprisingly moving at times, and serious about things such as redemption, responsibility, and wisdom. Filled with imagery of wintry Denmark, its woods and customs and smells. Told from the heart of a child. Wondrous. I completely loved it and already have plans to buy it for children in my life.
Nancy Thompson
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 6th-grade-hs, 2018
I thought this book was an adorable fun read about a Nisse/Tomten, Nisse family, a young girl and her baby sister. It was a fun magical read. Nisse are little house gnomes that in Scandinavian tradition take care of the animals and house but you never see them. Humans are supposed to leave them porridge but what happens when you don’t? Well Bettina found out what happens when you don’t in this book. I think it’s a fun cute read for wintertime. It’s a chapter book for 4th - 7th grade.
Betsy
Sep 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Fun, fairy tale adventure about a girl who is left in charge of her house and baby sister. It's Christmas time and usually the family leaves out a bowl of Christmas pudding for the nisse who lives in the barn. This year there is not pudding and the nisse is mad. The girl goes on an adventure with the nisse trying to find her sister who disappears. The story develops nicely. There isn't huge character development, but it's a fun plot.
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