We’ve had a bit of a Moomin hiatus, but last night the lad chose the next book in the series, Moominland Midwinter. As we began, I remembered again why I fell in love with Tove Jansson and her formidable translators.
To set the scene: Moomintroll wakes mid-hibernation, something that has never happened before. He tries to wake Moominmamma, but she can’t wake up. [” *gasp* I wonder if the Groke hibernates?” the lad interjected here.] Moomintroll decides to walk south to find Snufkin. The windows and doors are stuck fast with ice. He climbs up onto the roof through the chimney-sweep’s hatch, where he slips and rolls off the roof onto to the ground, leaving him stranded.
“And so Moomintroll was helplessly thrown out into 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 nose caught a new smell. It was a more serious smell than any he had met before, and slightly frightening. But it made him wide awake and greatly interested.
The valley was enveloped in a kind of grey twilight. It also wasn’t green any longer, it was white. Everything that had once moved had become immobile. There were no living sounds. Everything angular was now rounded.
“This is snow,” Moomintroll whispered to himself. “I’ve heard about it from Mother, and it’s called snow.”
Without Moomintroll knowing a thing about it, at that moment his velvet skin decided to start growing woollier. It decided to become, by and by, a coat of fur for winter use. That would take some time, but at least the decision was made. And that’s always a good thing.
Meanwhile Moomintroll was laboriously plodding along through the snow. He went down to the river. It was the same river that used to scuttle, transparent and jolly, through Moomintroll’s summer garden. Now it looked quite unlike itself. It was black and listless. It also belonged to this new world in which he didn’t feel at home.”
Isn’t that just the best start for an adventure book ever? This is prose poetry for the 5 year old set: brilliantly evocative, enticing, teeming with sensation and promise and just a hint of delicious danger.
I’m looking forward to chapter two.