Everything is perfect for Bettina Larsen’s Danish Christmas until the phone call telling them that Bettina’s grandmother (Mormor) has had an accident. Bettina’s mother leaves to take care of her. Her father also leaves to visit an elderly relative. Bettina is left alone to take care of the farm and her little baby sister Pia who is barely one. In all the commotion the family forgets to leave out a bowl of Christmas pudding in the barn for the nisse (a magical Gnome/Dwarf creature that is said to look after the family). Klakke, their nisse, is very upset. He makes a mess in the barn and makes Bettina’s tools hard to find. Bettina doesn’t realize it is the nisse until her baby sister is stolen while napping. Bettina sets off into the woods to find her sister and apologize to the nisse. She finds them only to discover than another nisse has stolen her sister. She must go on a journey to find the nisse Ulf, return her sister, and help him reconcile with his family. Bettina’s story is an unusual Christmastime tale with Danish traditions that will be unfamiliar to most children. Children will enjoy the nisse and their magic. Bettina’s determination to find her sister and to live up to her parent’s expectations will ring true with children. It is a simple story of forgiveness and about taking responsibility for your actions that is good for humans and nisse alike.
EL-ADVISABLE. Samantha Hastings, MA, MLS.