The Moomins

We were traveling last week, and in between stops we checked out a small library.  The children’s librarian there had just started a scavenger hunt for a group of kids.  Each kid was handed a list of 12 clues, which included such questions as ‘What will you find in the 910 section of the library ?’ (Geography & Travel), ‘What is above the stairway to the basement ?’ (A model of a four masted schooner).  At the end of the hunt, each kid could pick out a free book to take home.

Seemed like a great idea to get kids involved in the library, and also to give away some used books, so off Mr. C went on the scavenger hunt, with our help.  At the end, he could pick something out from a box of books, most of which were library discards.

There among the super hero movie  and toy tie-ins was something that looked familiar.  About a year or so ago, Karen from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings wrote a post about the Moomin series of books by Tove Jansson, and there in the box was ‘Moominsummer Madness’.   I had not read any of the books when I was growing up, and had never heard of them before I read her review, but from her reviews of some of the books in the series, it at least appeared to be the best of the lot.

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The Moomins are creatures who live in Moominvalley, getting into a series of adventures in eight books that were published from 1946 through 1970.  They always manage to get into some kind of catastrophe, but manage to end up fine in the end.

Since she can write about the series better than I can, here’s a link to one of the reviews on Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings

I especially like Jansson’s artwork, with just enough detail so you know what’s happening, but still leaving something to the imagination. Check out this illustration of the Moomins coming through the forest to see some new mysterious creature.  Using the black ink to create shadows, you know those are big trees, and the forest is supposed to be a little bit menacing. Even though there are no other creatures shown in the trees, maybe there are others in that dark forest ?  Those are the Moomins in the foreground, they look a bit like rounded off hippos.

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Here’s a detailed map of Moominvalley.

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It has quickly become Mr. C’s favorite book.

‘Read it again!’  Mr. C said at bedtime.

After breakfast he said ‘Finish eating quick so we can read some more!’

‘Let’s read that book some more!’  He said after lunch.

‘You know, there are more books in the series, we’ll have to check some out of the library.’ I said.

‘Go to the library now and get more!’ he said.

It’s been the first series that Mr. C has been so excited to read.  When we went to our own local library today, he was very excited to see that the library had recently purchased hardcover editions of five of the books, so we’ll be reading more soon!

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11 thoughts on “The Moomins

  1. How wonderful! I’m so jealous of Mr C discovering these as a child, because I wish I had, and what a great way to stumble across one. The drawings are absolutely fabulous, I think, and I hope he enjoys the rest of the series. (Thanks for the kind words and link too!)

    • They’re fun books, some scary things happen but nothing bad happens to the moomins. Jansson was Finnish, so those are probably some original versions your grandparents have.

    • There was also apparently either a TV series or a movie version in the mid 80’s. I’m not sure if I’d want to track that down, sometimes the TV versions can be awful. thanks for the comment!

    • Hopefully the video games are a phase that they will grow out of, or at least spend less time on as they get older. I didn’t read much at all until I was in High School.

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