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Mumintrollen #6

Moominland Midwinter

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This children's story is one of a series of books about the Moomins that blend magic, humour and adventure in the setting of the small, but ever-changing Moominvalley.

168 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1957

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About the author

Tove Jansson

759 books3,100 followers
Tove Jansson was born and died in Helsinki, Finland. As a Finnish citizen whose mother tongue was Swedish, she was part of the Swedish-speaking Finns minority. Thus, all her books were originally written in Swedish.

Although known first and foremost as an author, Tove Jansson considered her careers as author and painter to be of equal importance.

Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated her first Moomin book, The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945), during World War II. She said later that the war had depressed her, and she had wanted to write something naive and innocent. Besides the Moomin novels and short stories, Tove Jansson also wrote and illustrated four original and highly popular picture books.

Jansson's Moomin books have been translated into 33 languages.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 906 reviews
Profile Image for notgettingenough .
1,026 reviews1,184 followers
April 3, 2010
This book has the best footnotes.

A displaced hedgehog is a hedgehog that has been removed from its home against its will and not even had time to pack its toothbrush.

And a bit later on, when we are so sad because squirrel is dead, the most comforting footnote I've ever read:

In case the reader feels like having a cry, please take a quick look at p. 126.
Profile Image for Lisa.
977 reviews3,327 followers
September 17, 2021
Oh, the things that happen to you if you can't hibernate properly!

Reread with my big kids in Scandinavian mid-winter. A delight to revisit after a decade!
Profile Image for Mir.
4,862 reviews5,007 followers
January 7, 2021
2020 is the 75th birthday of Moomintrolls!

I read these all out of order. I'm not sure how much difference it makes. This probably isn't the best place to start, as most of the Moomin family is hibernating through winter, so you don't meet them or Snufkin.

On the other hand, it has an amazing feel for winter landscape and nature.It was incredible that she was able to convey appreciation for a season so inimical to life. I wouldn't go to Finland in midwinter if you paid me. Unless it was a lot of money and we were only looking at snow though the windows.

This was less anxious than the Comet episode. Jansson as always has great writing and profound understanding of personalities.

p.s. I learned from this book that there is such a thing as a "champagne whisk," which is intended for stirring the bubbles out of sparkling wine. I don't know why one would do this...
Profile Image for Spencer Orey.
540 reviews124 followers
February 21, 2021
My kid and I keep loving these books. Each one is a delight to read. This one, of darkness and snow and the northern lights and all the people of winter, was maybe the best one so far?
Profile Image for Eddie Watkins.
Author 6 books5,451 followers
October 8, 2014
The human world is a huge mess that somehow survives the day. I don’t know how it happens, and I’m not sure that all our (un)concerted efforts to help it survive don’t just further complicate things and make that daily survival less and less possible. My attitude in these matters is generally that of a cynical Taoist – a profound faith in things as they are functioning “perfectly” in enormous rhythms of time wedded to an understanding that most humans only make things worse. If pressed my explanation would be that collectively we see a new day every day due to an inherent survival mechanism of such incredible complexity that even our brightest brains can’t understand it. If pressed I would also add that this survival mechanism is beyond the reach of our brains, which itself is part of that very survival mechanism, as our brains would invariably muck it up irreparably if given access.

Brains muck up enough already, and what they can’t muck up they often try to ruin for everyone. Even our very own brains try to muck up our very own lives. For instance, some brains are wont to tell their soul/body vessels that in the face of such muckity-mucked-up global complexity to seek solace or refuge or even wisdom in the simple is irresponsible; that complexity must be confronted with complexity; that it is our duty as primates on the intellectual pinnacle to figure out every last detail of our infinitely long queue of problems, and to come up with solutions, before we can enjoy the simplicity of our gods-given natures; that we need to read complicated adult books rather than so-called children’s books as a means of understanding our conditions. Just as I don’t know how we survive, I don’t know why we continue to operate under the directive of seriously flawed adult logic and over-educated instruction manuals when the clear-eyed (& anarchic) wisdom of childhood (& even old age) is intuitively the better course. Children and the elderly aren’t in the game, and they’re the wiser for it, though of course there are exceptions - demonic kids and avaricious old folks.

Which brings me to Mooninvalley, where I now live. I feel lucky that I can read these books for the first time as an adult. Sure, it would be nice to have read these as a youngster so that as they were directly affecting (& effecting) my development they were planting themselves in my being’s very marrow; but to read them as an adult is potentially even more affecting as there are so many mental/emotional rigidities to overcome, so much intellectual scar tissue to flex out, and so many more grey clouds and mucky accretions to pierce in order to see the Sun as if on the first day of creation. Which is not to say that Tove Jansson aspirations are so lofty, as from what I can tell her main intentions were to entertain and delight while embodying her philosophy of natural magic, clear-sighted pragmatism, anarchic creativity, and self-sufficiency through the simple complex of her cast of wildly diverse characters.

Life in Moominvalley is simple, though complicated enough to engender stories worth telling, and though it’s a remote utopia of sorts it’s essence is capable of resonating within the hearts and minds of those people still receptive to a wisdom that can be both simple and true. And just as I don’t really care to know how we as a species continue to survive, I don’t really care to over-discuss my life in Moominvalley. I prefer to just live it. And I should stop talking before anyone mistakes me for Garrison Keillor.
Profile Image for Paul.
2,308 reviews20 followers
March 11, 2021
When Moomintroll awakes from hibernation early he discovers a sunless, snow-covered world he had never even dreamed existed and I get what is definitely my favourite Moomins book so far. Simply magical.

My next book: Giant-Size X-Men vol. 1
Profile Image for Stephen Curran.
Author 1 book23 followers
July 3, 2015
'"When one's dead, then one's dead," said Too-Ticky kindly. "This squirrel will become earth all in his time. And still later on there'll grow trees from him, with new squirrels skipping about in them. Do you think that's so sad?"
"Perhaps not," said Moomintroll.'

Granted, I've only just finished reading it, but this might just be my favourite book. Towards the end, when Moomintroll's long and lonely ordeal is finally over, someone suggests that he should put a glass over a budding crocus to protect it overnight. No, he says: "Let it fight it out. I believe it's going to do still better if things aren't so easy."

These are stories to live by.
Profile Image for Paula Bardell-Hedley.
148 reviews73 followers
January 14, 2020
“All was silent, nothing stirred, and slender stars were shining everywhere and twinkling in the ice. It was terribly cold.”
Moomins go into a state of deep hibernation from November to April, until the ice melts and spring sunshine warms their fur – it has always been so, or was, until a particular winter when something utterly perplexing happens to Moomintroll: he wakes from his state of torpor and cannot not get back to sleep. As his family slumber in their beds, oblivious to his predicament, he emerges into a world where the clocks have stopped, there is nothing to eat and the land is covered with snow.

Although we never learn the reason for his wakefulness, it seems plain that in some fundamental way this behaviour goes against nature. He was, in his own words, “the first Moomin to have lived through an entire year”, and he feels desperately isolated.

Despite first appearances, the young troll gradually realises he is far from alone. Indeed, the valley is teeming with creatures unknown to the sleeping inhabitants, in some instances because they emerge only to make a midwinter bonfire then depart with the arrival of spring. To Moomintroll’s delight, one old friend does make an appearance: the indomitable Little My (a great favourite with Moominites). Physically diminutive but immense in personality, she is unafraid of anything, says exactly what she thinks and often annoys others. The snow holds no fear for her, and she uses kitchen knives as skates and Moominmamma’s tea tray as a sledge, reaffirming her reputation for recklessness.

Moomintroll also meets new acquaintances, such as the Hemulen Skier who, unlike most hemulens, doesn’t wear a dress and doesn’t follow rules or collect things. He’s a big, cheerful outdoorsy type who announces his arrival by blowing a bugle. When he isn’t plunging into freezing cold water or whizzing down precipitous slopes on skis, he’s annoying everyone by disturbing their afternoon nap, chivvying them to get out in the fresh air.

Tuulikki Pietilä (known affectionately as Tuuti), Jansson’s life partner, is immortalised in Moominland Midwinter as the calm and wise Too-Ticky, a character who teaches Moomintroll how to survive in this new environment. In her striped sweater and bobble hat, she is presented as a practical, independent individual who lives in the Moomins’ bathhouse with eight invisible shrews.

Other memorable characters include the melancholy Sorry-oo, a wan little dog whose greatest wish is to run wild with the wolves, and the Ancestor (or dweller behind the stove), a small, hairy creature with a large snout. He too is a troll, a antecedent of the Moomin family but with a great many generations separating them. He should perhaps be described as a mooministic primogenitor.

The creature I find most fascinating is the mysterious Groke, a solitary, expressionless being who appears unexpectedly and brings with her an unnatural chill. She leaves the ground frozen beneath her feet and those who encounter her are forever reminded of the bleakest winters. Sometimes death.

Many others, whom I’m tempted to call climate refugees, arrive from the north seeking food and shelter. Since the Lady of the Cold passed through their valley, they have suffered starvation. Their plight leads Moomintroll to exclaim: “What troubles people have”. He opens both his home and Moominmamma's jam store to these troubled incomers.

Far less jolly than its predecessors, Moominland Midwinter is a haunting yet joyful tale of a frightened, angry, isolated young troll who learns to respect and care for creatures unlike himself. While this book is far more introspective than its predecessors, it fully retains the charm of the previous novels while exploring serious subjects such as dealing with death, facing one's fears and embracing change. It is also, I suspect, Jansson’s oblique nod to Darwinism.

Re-reading this book for the first time in several decades, I was thrilled to find it remains my favourite book of the series. Tove Jansson’s distinctive illustrations still captivate this adult reader and her simple stories never fail to evoke a range of complex emotions.

You can read more of my reviews and other literary features at Book Jotter.
Profile Image for Nate D.
1,583 reviews999 followers
September 30, 2017
Cynical comfort reading. Jansson's stories won't warm the depths of mid-winter, but may encourage you to accept that the frozen snowy dark is temporary and not entirely meritless if one remains open to its potential. People also. Most of them are irritating in some way or another, but it'll be okay. They're probably also well-meaning in some way.
Profile Image for Austra.
615 reviews73 followers
August 5, 2022
Grāmata, pilna domu un dažādu ķipariņu, un centrā činkstulīgs trollītis Mumins, kurš pamazām iepazīst ziemu, kura, iespējams, nav nemaz tik slikta. Ļoti patīkami lasīt par sniega vētrām pašā vasaras cepumiņā.

“Tīri vai žēl, ka viss saistošais allaž beidzas, kad tu vairs nebaidies un kad tev beidzot kļūst jautri.”
Profile Image for Ulysse.
279 reviews111 followers
January 2, 2021
My last book of 2020, a year that has felt like a long hibernation. A year when more than ever I needed to meet someone like Tove Jansson. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet her in person because A) she's dead, B) she lives on an island in Finland, C) I'm rather shy, D) lockdown. I did get to meet many of her wonderful characters, though. Thank you Tove for bringing some much needed poetry, solace and fun to my days. And thank you to all of you kindred spirits out there, wherever you may be, you passionate readers who, virus or no virus, will go on reading long into the night of many Winters to come. So long as there are books to read, the reader will read. We shan't be deterred!

"Now came spring, but not at all as he had imagined its coming. He had thought that it would deliver him from a strange and hostile world, but now it was simply a continuation of his new experiences of something he had already conquered and made his own."
Profile Image for Margie.
406 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2021
4.5 stars

Thanks to Hilary for introducing me to the Moomins! I don't how I missed these when I was a child or when my children were young.

The Moomins are cartoonish little characters with cute little hippo faces and roly-poly bodies that you feel you would like to hug. I would recommend these chapter books for grades 2 and up.

As the book begins, Moomintroll wakes up midwinter and can't go back to sleep (something I can empathize with). His house is quiet. Moominmamma, Moominpappa and Snork Maiden (his friend) are asleep. Moomintroll looks out the window to a world covered in snow, something he has never encountered before as Moomins sleep all winter long from November to April.

Thus begins Moomintroll's great adventure in the snow which is propelled by his childlike innocence and boundless curiosity. He meets many different creatures during his adventures, each one teaching him or learning from him. He learns to broaden his horizons, to try new things and to appreciate the beauty and fierceness of nature. Those he meets learn to appreciate his kindness, bravery, compassion and generosity.

This is a beautiful book that wraps values and virtues in a winter wonderland of adventure. In the end Moomintroll's loving family wakes up and joins him as winter ends. Even though her house is turned upside down, Moomintroll's mamma expresses her pride in his kindness and generosity to others during the long cold winter. Tove Jansson, author of the Moomin series, said that she modeled the loving Moomin family after her own childhood family.

Moominland Midwinter was originally published in 1957. The paperback edition which I checked out from my local library was reissued in 2010. There is a map of Moominland in the beginning and three pages of illustrations of the different creatures who inhabit Moominland. In the back of the book there is a brief biography and timeline of Tove Jansson's life.

I can't wait to read more in this series! It is the perfect book to draw children and adults alike into a kind, cozy and comforting fantasy world.
January 19, 2022
ვგიჟდები ყოველ მომდევნო წიგნში როგორ უფრო და უფრო დახვეწილი ხდება გარემოს, სიტუაციების, ბუნების აღწერები. განუმეორებლად, მხოლოდ ტუვეს სტილში.
ზამთრის ესთეტიკა საოცრად აქვს გადმოცემული. რომ აღარაფერი ვთქვა იმ დიად იდეებზე, რომლებიც ასე ოსტატურად აქვს ჩართული ამ ერთი შეხედვით საბავშვო წიგნში.
და რაღაცნაირად საკუთარი თავის რწმენა და ბრძოლის უნარი შემმატა ამ კონკრეტულმა. ზამთარი მუმინტროლს თავიდან მტრულ სამყაროდ წარმოესახა, თუმცა დროის გასვლასთან ერთად ისე შეეთვისა და დასძლია ყო��ელგვარი უარყოფითი განწყობა ზამთრის მიმართ, რომ გაზაფხული უბრალოდ ბუნებრივ გაგრძელებად მოეჩვენა ზამთრისა.
გასაჭირს, ქარბუქს, თოვლს, მარტოობას, ახალ უჩვეულო სამყაროში მოხვედრას სრულიად უცხო არსებებთან ერთად შეძლებისდაგვარად მედგრად დაუხვდა, ბევრი განსაცდელი გამოიარა, ცვლილება განიცადა, დამოკიდებულება, ხედვა შეიცვალა ყველაფრისადმი და გაზაფხულის მოსვლისას სიმშვიდე უკვე ნაპოვნი ჰქონდა.
უზომოდ მიყვარს მუმინტროლისა და სნუსმუმრიკის მეგობრობა, ის მოლოდინის პროცესიც მიყვარს, მეც მუმინტროლთან ერთად მთელი წიგნი მის დაბრუნებას რომ ველი:
“ტკბილად იძინე და არ მოიწყინო. გაზაფხულის პირველსავე თბილ დღეს დაგიბრუნდები. დამელოდე და ერთად ავაშენოთ დამბა მდინარეზე.”
მი რაღაცნაირად სნიფს მახსენებდა უმეტესად, ხო და სნიფი ძალიან მომენატრა.
ტუვე ჩვეულებისამებრ საოცარია.
Profile Image for Lex.
82 reviews1,150 followers
January 20, 2019
So wintry and lovely. My copy had 17 pages missing so I shall have to hunt them down and enjoy them on their own.
Profile Image for Girl with her Head in a Book.
612 reviews182 followers
August 19, 2019
For my full review: https://girlwithherheadinabook.co.uk/...

The first Moomins book that I read was Finn Family Moomintroll and I fell in love. Moominvalley seemed a magical place of eternal sunshine. The food was plentiful, the company enchanting and even when risky characters such as the Hobgoblin showed up, the threat never felt particularly severe. Eight year-old me was in rapture. But it was a library book and I was not allowed to keep checking it out indefinitely and nor was I allowed a copy of my own. When I discovered that there were other Moomin books, I thought I had found the perfect solution. When I read Moominland Midwinter however, I felt I had made a terrible mistake. Thingummy and Bob were gone. Snufkin was travelling in foreign lands. Most of the other characters were asleep. Even the sun was gone. I plodded to the end but it would be many years before I ventured back to Moominvalley. Returning to the book now as an adult, would it still seem so very gloomy?

The very title of Finn Family Moomintroll confirms that it is about community and belonging - a family. In that respect, Moominland Midwinter is its polar opposite. It is an incredible - perhaps even unique - study of depression and loneliness on the child's eye level. I can also see why it was not at all what eight year-old me was expecting. Moomins usually hibernate between the months of November and April but then one year, Moomintroll wakes up and is unable to settle himself again.

The winter which Moomintroll encounters is a disturbing one and he faces it alone. As a child who longed fruitlessly every year for snow in the hope of finally testing out my sledge, the idea that it could take on a sinister side seemed strange. I did not realise that this was the flip-side to the long sunny days of Finn Family, that now Moominvalley had to endure months of perpetual darkness. As an adult, I have a tendency to get grumpy during the winter months when it can too often feel that one goes to work in darkness and then return home in the same; I can better understand how a Finnish winter could really depress one's spirits.

There is something really eerie too about being awake while those around you are asleep. Following on from the birth of my first child, I had an extended bout of insomnia over the winter of last year. He would wake up, I would feed him, he would sleep again but I would not. Reading Moomintroll's bewilderment and frustration about being awake when the rest of his family are not made me remember that period. Padding about in the dark, trying different corners of the house to see if I could get sleepy again and then always, always staying awake. The long nights of winter seemed endless. The phase was not long but it was quite enough for me.

Fortunately, Moomintroll discovers an alternative community which exists during the winter months, a group of characters equipped to survive the harsh conditions. Chief among these is Too-Ticky, who occupies the Moomin family's bath-house. Based on author Tove Jansson's long-term partner Tuulikki 'Tooti' Pietilä, Too-Ticky is a practical philosopher. Where Moomintroll rails against the harshness of the season, Too-Ticky encourages him to see that there is more to snow than mere bland whiteness.

You believe it’s cold, but if you build yourself a snowhouse it’s warm. You think it’s white, but at times it looks pink, and another time it’s blue. It can be softer than anything, and then again harder than stone. Nothing is certain.

Tove Jansson with her partner Tuulikki Pietilä
If Too-Ticky is indeed an accurate representation of Tuulikki Pietilä, then Tove Jansson was very fortunate to have her as a partner. She is one of those rare and wonderful people who accepts each new situation unflinchingly. Even the coming of the deadly Lady of the Cold does not spark fear in Too-Ticky. She sets out to make sure everyone is organised but never panics. Like Moomintroll, I was horror-struck as a child by the demise of the squirrel who encounters the Lady of the Cold. Somehow I seemed to miss the author note the first time around. Too-Ticky's deadpan pronouncement of 'When one's dead, one's dead' was completely alien to me at the time. Yet she shows Moomintroll that while in winter, he is living by different rules.

There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep – then they appear.

The characters who emerge in the winter are a crew of misfits. There is Sorry-oo the dog who longs to run with wolves, the boisterous skiing Hemulen who everyone hopes will move on and leave them alone and Salome the little Creep who hopes to be noticed, the mysterious Ancestor who Moomintroll can barely recognise as kin - few of the characters appear truly contented. The idea of being suddenly adrift from one's family alarmed me as a child. I was like Moomintroll, I did not like Moominvalley in the winter. Yet when I reread it, I felt that I had missed the most important point - things get better.

Even when the book is at its darkest, things improve. Sorry-oo realises that he cannot be a wolf (heartbreaking passage there) and he is saved before he can be devoured by the pack. The sun returns, a little at first and then gradually more and more. Moominmamma wakes up. She wakes and she takes care of Moomintroll, sets the house to rights and remarks how nice it is to be up a little early to have some extra time to herself. The jam stores which Moomintroll had worried over so much turn out to be not so important. Spring is here. There is another squirrel hopping about who looks just like the one who perished under the gaze of the Lady of the Cold.

But when Moomintroll finds Snork Maiden and the two of them spot an early crocus, she suggests putting a glass over it to protect it from the cold. Moomintroll responds 'No, don’t do that. Let it fight it out. I believe it’s going to do still better if things aren’t so easy.' Not only do things get better, but you are stronger as a person from what has gone before. In early books, particularly The Moomins and the Great Flood, Moomintroll was a mere child and had little agency. With Midwinter, we see him take on responsibility and face down challenges, adding far greater depth to his character.

Unfortunately, I think I was just too young for Moominland Midwinter when I first read it. I saw only the bleakness and had lost interest before the new growth. The lesson of how we grow as people through trial and toil is a hefty one for a child to take on board but it is such an important one - I can think of few writers who could have put this across so beautifully as Jansson manages to do here. Her version of winter does not focus on the fun of sledging or skiing or snowball fights but on the slog to survive it and yet she does not stir from the world she has created. The glorious thing about the Moomins is that they are a kind of adult fairy tale that you can enjoy at any stage of life. I hope very much to share this story one day with my own child, that he too might learn that things may well get tough, but he can rise to the challenge.
Profile Image for Afaf Ammar.
889 reviews494 followers
March 9, 2022
"قال لها : ربيع سعيد، وفي الوقت نفسه تساءل ما إذا كان سيتمكن يومًا من إخبارها عن شتائه حتى تفهمه"

منتصف الشتاء في وادي المومين، وبينما الوادي ملون بالغسق الرمادي المنعكس من الثلوج، وكل الكائنات الصغيرة نائمة تحلم بالربيع القادم، ومعها عائلة المومين التي تنام من نوفمبر إلى إبريل، لأن هذا ما درج عليه اسلافها والمومين يتمسكون بالتقاليد،
قرر الابن الصغير ،مومين ترول، أن يخرج إلى العالم الرمادي النائم ليكتشفه، ويحاول أن يوقظه من سباته الشتوي، لأنه في الحقيقة لا يحب الشتاء كثيرًا، ربما قليلًا فقط،
وتحت أضواء الشمال البراقة وسماء متألقة بالنجوم اللامعة، وثلج يتلألأ بزرقة لامعة في ضوء القمر، وظلال الليلك والياسمين تنعكس على الثلج في ضوء القمر الخافت،
عاش مومين ترول مغامرة لطيفة في عالم جديد لم يراه من قبل، جعله يفكر قليلًا في جمال الشتاء، وربما يبدأ أن يحبه قليلًا،
ولكنه مازال يريد شرفة زرقاء ونافذة مشرعة طوال الوقت على حديقة مزروعة بدوار الشمس والنحل الطنان يرقص معه تحت الشمس البرتقالية الدافئة في السماء الزرقاء،
وفكر ربما لو استطاع تشغيل كل ساعات العالم في نفس الوقت،
لعل هذا يجعل الربيع يبكر قليلاً في قدومه، لأنه اشتاق إليه....

حكايات وأفكار دافئة منسوجة في هذه الرواية الجميلة عن الشتاء الطويل والحنين والحلم بالربيع الدافئ في منتصف الشتاء، الذي يحلم به مومين ترول ،
حسنًا يا مومين ترول، ومَن منا لا ينتظر الربيع الدافئ رغم حبه للشتاء،
كلنا ننتظر الربيع لنزهر مع الليلك والياسمين ،
ويكون ربيعًا دافئًا وسعيدًا 💜🌼🌸💜

Profile Image for Ansa.
139 reviews9 followers
February 4, 2023
My girlfriend cried when the little squirrel died. There were couple of details funnily translated but this was a wonderful bedtime story to read out loud taking turns. Perfect the cold Finnish January. Te amo mucho novia, I know you understood more about polar night melancholy and coldness with this one.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,126 reviews104 followers
October 22, 2021
While I am still not totally enamoured of the narrative flow of Thomas Warburton’s English language translation for Tove Jansson’s 1957 Trollvinter, certainly with regard to thematics and contents, Moominland Midwinter has generally been both very much enjoyable and also delightfully introspective. But most definitely, I should indeed also point out that I do tend to find Thomas Warburton’s textual efforts with Moominland Midwinter considerably superior to his earlier Moomin novel translations, but that well, Warburton’s general narrational cadence and rhythm, they still feel a trifle too choppy for me and thus not really stylistically all that successfully mirroring that Moominland Midwinter is obviously taking place during the coldest months of the year, during a time of silence, of ice and snow.

And thematically speaking with regard to Moominland Midwinter, while as a total lover of winter (and it also being my absolute favourite of the four seasons), I at first was finding it rather annoying and frustrating how much the awake and not able to get back to sleep (to hibernate) Moomintroll is constantly whining about the snow, the lack of sunlight and that he is feeling abandoned and lonely, after a bit of reflection, I did and do realise that Moomintoll’s initial reaction to winter in fact totally makes sense and is actually even to be approached as a massive case of culture shock (since everything looks and feels different in the winter, and that it of course will take time for Moomintroll to understand what winter is, to get used to the cold, the snow, the many different winter guests, the lack of sunlight and indeed that learning to ski can be something daunting and even quite majorly scary).

Not a perfect story for me is Moominland Midwinter, as even with me understanding Moomintroll’s original negative reaction to winter, I personally still rather consider Tove Jansson’s contents and themes a bit too negative regarding winter in general for my own feelings (since I really do majorly tend to enjoy cold and even freezing weather much more than summer heat and also the showers of springtime). But it has definitely been fun reading about Moomintroll slowly but surely learning to at least appreciate winter as a season, to fight against his negativity and to come springtime have learned that as a season, winter is actually not something to fear and to despise.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,184 reviews1,064 followers
January 24, 2015
There's a fab essay by Maria Popova on this book on Brain Pickings today, encompassing "the paradox of active surrender." Highly recommended.


Found my childhood copy of this while cleaning out an old box last night, and to my delight I enjoyed it just as much as a grown up. My favourite of all the moomin books, because of the haunting quietness. On my must-read list for all children.
25 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2012
Someone bought me this book from a second-hand store when I was a kid. I can't remember who. I had never heard of the Moomin world before that, and for more than a decade no one else I knew ever indicated a knowledge of it. I saw a Little My button on a girl's backpack in High School and pointed it out and she went nuts with joy that someone had recognised it. Moominland was a secret world known by so few. Now the books are easier to find I IMPLORE you to buy them.

I swear this book changed me in a fundamental way.

It's solemn, and cold, and lonely. Sometimes it made me sad, just because of its solemnity. It's very different to anything else I've ever read, perhaps because it's Finnish. It has an extraordinary tone to it. But it's beautiful. Like new-fallen snow is it beautiful. Before this book I had only a very vague awareness that there were places in the world where the sun did not rise in winter. It challenged my early gender preconceptions (I thought myself a bit of a Tomboy but nevertheless Too-Ticky confused me).

By this for your small children and show them a new way of seeing the world. Also steal it from them when they're done, and read it yourself.
Profile Image for Christine.
6,618 reviews478 followers
December 21, 2020
This is one of those books that you do not realize how great it is until you read it as an adult. It is a book about death, struggle, acceptance, and difference. At first Moomintroll is lonely but he learns about winter and learns to thrive.

And we should all be as fearless as Little My.
Profile Image for Beth Bonini.
1,293 reviews279 followers
January 26, 2021
And so Moomintroll was helplessly thrown out in a strange and dangerous world and dropped up to his ears in the first snowdrift of his experience. It felt unpleasantly prickly to his velvet skin, but at the same time his snout caught a new smell. It was a more serious smell than any he had felt before, and slightly frightening. But it made him wide awake and greatly interested.

This is my first Moomintroll book - and appropriately enough, the book is about new experiences. Specifically, it is about Moomintroll's first experience of winter. Despite a family tradition of hibernating every year - they always slept from November to Paris, because such was the custom of their forefathers - Moomintroll wakes up in the dead of winter and he cannot go back to sleep. Thus begins the adventure.

This is a book which can be 'read' in many ways, although it needn't be read for any purpose other than enjoyment. It can be thought of as a 'rite-of-passage' story, because for the first time Moomintroll has a big and unique adventure without the support or guidance of his family. As one of the characters says, (the philosophical Too-ticky, who takes up residence in the Moomin's summer bathing house): "One has to discover everything for oneself. And get over it alone."

Winter itself can be treated both literally and metaphorically. At first the lack of light and the weather extremes and all of the hitherto unknown winter creatures ("the shy and rum") are off-putting, destabilising and even frightening. Moomintroll is quite sure "that your winter's not for me." But gradually, he begins to accustom himself - he adapts, even as his fur thickens - and he starts to enjoy himself.

It's easy enough to draw lessons from the book - whether one is a child or adult reader - but Tove Jansson is not really an earnest or proselytising sort of author. She suggests, instead, that winter is interesting; that new experiences in life are interesting, bracing and necessary.

I have read several of Jansson's adult books and there is definitely a similarity of tone in all of her work. It's tempting to describe her style as 'quirky', but not in a self-conscious (or maybe even deliberate) way. She just has an unusual sensibility and sense of humour. The majority of her characters make no attempt to be 'likeable', and somehow that's what you like them for. Her inimitable style might be difficult to define, but you cannot help but recognise it immediately.

I've begun in the middle of the Moomin series, but I intend to read the rest of the books - perhaps starting at the beginning, but just as likely in any old order. As the author herself says, in the final words of this book: "The End and The Beginning"
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 7 books49 followers
March 5, 2010
I love all the Moomin books, but this one especially. It's a small existentialist masterpiece. Who but Tove Jansson can blend menace and whimsy in such a winning way? I'm plotting an omnibus review of the whole series when I've finished rereading them all (two more books to go after this one).
Profile Image for Nouf✩.
222 reviews52 followers
October 18, 2021
استعرت الكتاب من صديقتي بالصدفة وكانت ألطف وأجمل صدفة!
لطالما استكثرت سعر الكتب ورأيت انه مبالغ فيه... ولكن بعد قراءتي للكتاب اول مرة تحسفت لان شيئا بهذا الجمال كان سيفوتني! تبا للرأسمالية! حان وقت تجميع الس��سلة!
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