Continuing my reread of these delightful books for young readers, this is the sixth novel in the series, published in 1957.
Moomins always hibernate for the winter. The familiar family of Moominpapa, Moominmama, Moomintroll, and their friend The Snork Maiden (possibly others) are hibernating in their house in Moomin Valley this winter when Moomintroll suddenly wakes up and can’t get back to sleep. He decides to go out into the very odd and different world of winter to explore it. Snow is completely new to him, and when he is able to escape the house through a hatch in the roof, he is soon wandering around the frozen landscape looking for anyone to talk with. He finds Too-ticky, who spends the winter living in the Moomin’s bath house at the edge of the sea with some invisible helpers. Meanwhile, Little My has also awakened in her winter quarters, a cave, and is also out exploring. She is much quicker to adapt to things. Other creatures arrive in Moomin Valley including a skiing Hemulen, and a Little Creep. Everyone is hungry, and Moomintroll offers them jars of jam from Moominmamma’s fall preservings. It keeps everyone going. When Moomintroll hears about Christmas, he doesn’t understand it, but feels he should try to wake his family so they can all participate in what sounds like a thrilling event.
This book has a darker tone than the previous Moomin novels, as Moomintroll struggles to understand and survive in unknown winter, but it also has good doses of humor and many charming moments and characters. Any of the Moomin novels can be enjoyed as one’s first, but they are best read in order.