Friday, September 2, 2011

The Moomins


"The Moomins? What's that?" friends ask when I mention these books. I've been recommending the Moomin books to everyone and interestingly enough no one seems to have heard of them. To be honest, I wasn't familiar with them either until recently. I kept coming across the Moomins' books by Tove Jansson while researching for appropriate books for my almost 6-year-old son so when I saw them at my local bookshop, Fully Booked, I just couldn't resist.

The Moomins are happy and whimsical characters in a series of books and comic strips written by Swedish-Finnish author, Tove Jansson. They were originally published in Swedish in Finland. They are a family of trolls but far from appearing scary, they are white and roundish with large snouts that make them resemble hippopotamuses. They are carefree and adventurous and live in a house in Moominvalley in the forests in Finland. Fun and delightful things seem to always happen to the Moomins and their friends.

The Moomins are characters that are so well loved by those that were lucky enough to read them as a child. Many fans claim that they've never forgotten these books. The Moomins have stayed with them through the years and they've been an integral part in shaping how they see the world and certain things such as family, friendship and even hospitality. Yes, the Moomins are hospitable creatures and welcome just about anyone into their home.
"Moomintroll’s mother and father always welcomed all their friends in the same quiet way, just adding another bed and putting another leaf in the dining-room table. And so Moominhouse was rather full — a place where everyone did what they liked and seldom worried about to-morrow. Very often unexpected and disturbing things used to happen, but nobody ever had time to be bored, and that is always a good thing."
Right now we are reading a chapter every night of Finn Family Moomintroll and I can happily report that our whole family is completely charmed by the Moomins. They are simply adorable!


Some lovely quotations from the Moomin books:

It looks rather ordinary," said the Snork. "Unless you consider that a top hat is always somewhat extraordinary, of course.
At times he thought he could clearly see the trail that Snufkin had made on the sodden ground. The tracks skipped and danced here and there, and were difficult to follow. On occasion they took great leaps and even crossed paths. "He must have been feeling quite happy," thought Moomintroll. "I believe that right here he has even done a somersault."

"What is it?" said Moomintroll. Discoveries were his very favourite thing (after mysterious paths, swimming and secrets, that is).
"I think I'm beginning to understand now," said Moomintroll slowly. "You aren't a collector any longer, are you? Now you are just an owner. That's nowhere near as much fun." "No," said the Hemulen thoroughly dejected. "It is most decidedly nowhere near as much fun." 
Moomintroll closed his eyes and surmised, "How different we all are, really."

11 comments:

  1. That sounds bamazing and the illustratinos are beautiful. With my first baby on the way I am going to have start thinking about books the whoel family can enjoy eventually. Looks like I could enjoy these now!

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  2. I used to watch the cartoon on TV - LOVED it! When I have kids I can't wait to read the books with them! Oh, Moomin Mama, Little My....so many happy memories! The cartoon was very popular in the UK. I have only seen the reissued books in Foyle's once or twice though.

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  3. I love the Moomins! There was a selection from one of their books in the Jr. Great Books I taught years ago. That's a program for children out of the University of Chicago, and they only select the finest literature. If I remember correctly, while it's officially children's literature, it's so well done any adult can enjoy it. I think I should pick up a piece again for the memories.

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  4. Awww they look so very adorable! The quotations are very interesting too. Thanks for sharing :)

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  5. I loved these when I was a kid. I still remember my favorite line: "Piff is sneevish. Nake no totice." Or words to that effect. I have two of Jansson's adult novels and still haven't read them. Maybe I'm afraid I won't love them as much as the Moomins.

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  6. I've enjoyed all your comments about The Moomins! The are indeed well loved even by adults. We just finished Finn Family Moomintroll and it was excellent. Now I have to get the next one in the series...

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  7. I managed to get my first Moomin book from the library last week. They are so popular in Sweden and I knew I had to give them a try..

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  8. I fell in love with Tove Jansson's The Summer Book. When I researched her, I was surprised to find she was far more famous for The Moomins. Sadly, my daughters are too old for these now, but I'm planning on sending them to a new cousin of theirs!

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  9. My husband and I re-read the Moomins regularly. Right now we're on The Finn Family Moomintroll but I also love Moominvalley in November and Tales of Moominvalley. I honestly think there's as much in them for adults as for children. Maybe more. In fact I've always found it difficult to decide what age group they're intended for. There's something for everyone. They're so beautiful to read you forget you're reading a kid's book. They're just amazing.
    Snufkin is my hero :)

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  10. @Col - I think you can never be too old for the Moomins!

    @Overdue - I don't have the Moomin books you mentioned but they'll be next on my list. And yes, it's amazing how as an adult I'm finding many nuggets of wisdom in their stories. I love Snufkin too!

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  11. I must, must read some of these, since she is one of my favourite writers - but I've only read her works for adults. They look like such fun, and if they're a tenth as good as her novels, they'll be wonderful.

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