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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  379 Ratings  ·  95 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
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Candlewick Press
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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 Pia..
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
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.
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
Sarah Smith
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads, arc
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
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
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!
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
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.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it
A cute, adventure story set in wintertime. It as a fun book to read in January.
✨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.

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".
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.
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. ...more
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
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
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
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: 2018, 6th-grade-hs
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.
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.)
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I loved reading this book and immersing myself in a different world of nisse! I had to google how to pronounce nisse and what they were, but once I did I learned a lot about my Finnish heritage that I didn’t know before (and some things I did know and the nisse emphasized). I’m glad to have been able to connect to my heritage and learn something new in such a fun way.
Juli Anna
Dec 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kidlit, fantasy-scifi
This was a wonderful companion to Gnomes, and it brought me right back to my childhood Christmases, when we would leave rice pudding out for Jul Tomte on Christmas Eve in hopes of finding our shoes full of (chocolate) gold coins in the morning. I know that this would have been a perfectly magical book to me if I had read it as a child. As part of a heavily Swedish/Norwegian family, this is the folklore I grew up with. So, three stars for being a super cozy and nostalgic read for my holiday break ...more
Amy Nielsen
Sweet story for the young.
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Moral of the story: you cant get forgiveness unless you ask and never leave a twelve year old in charge.
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Such a delightful book! I can't wait to book talk this book at school. Great magic!
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Cute little middle grade book. :)
Apr 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review based on a digital ARC provided by Netgalley.

The first thing I must admit, before writing this review, is that I love the magic of Christmas, Santa, elves, gnomes, nisse and all woodland animals. That being said, this book was delightful and magical, but beyond that, it was insightful in many ways.

The Larsens are a family living on a farm on a small Danish island. When her parents must leave in a hurry, Bettina (she is 12, I believe), is left in charge of the farm and her baby sister. Wi
Cathy Mealey
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Michelle Hout’s WINTERFROST brings readers to the forests of Denmark for a sweet fantasy adventure that is perfect for the holiday season.

The Larsen family Christmas celebration takes an unexpected turn when the parents are called away, leaving twelve-year-old Bettina in charge of the farm and her 1-year-old sister Pia for a few days. Bettina, a mature and responsible girl, is undaunted by the challenge. She is confident that she can manage alone, especially since nothing ever happens on the sle
Lauren Hendricks
Feb 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Winterfrost is The perfect whimsical and magical story to become swept up in during the winter months! Winterfrost is the story of Bettina Larsen who lives on a farm in Denmark. On Christmas morning Bettina learns the importance of taking care of the Nisse, gnome-like creatures that are rumored to live in the barn and help the family take care of the farm. No one ever sees the Nisse, but it is clear to Bettnia when she forgets to put out Christmas rice pudding on Christmas Eve for her Nisse, tha ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Bettina is left in charge of the farm when her parents are called away. When her baby sister disappears Bettina must turn to the nisse, tiny creatures who live nearby, for help.
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