Monday, November 26, 2012

Favourite Childhood Books Part Two - The Moomins by Tove Jansson


When Moomintroll learns that a comet will be passing by, he and his friend Sniff travel to the Observatory on the Lonely Mountains to consult the Professors. Along the way, they have many adventures, but the greatest adventure of all awaits them when they learn that the comet is headed straight for their beloved Moominvalley.

When I read the Moomins as a child I don't think I really appreciated how surreal they are. I simply accepted their strange life and adventures. I didn't really understand, for example, that some places in the world had almost total darkness in the winter. To me it was just the world of Moomins where folk tales ruled. Take Comet in Moominland where Moomintroll has a bad feeling that something bad was going to happen. He trusts his gut and travels to the Lonely Mountains to find out more. This journey isn't simple though, it's arduous, difficult and almost ends tragically. However, Moomintroll and Sniff find the wandering and wonderful Snufkin who spends his life travelling the country. Together they find out more about the mysterious comet which is bringing the feeling of unease to the creatures of the valley.

Snufkin is a brilliant character. He always knows what to do for the best and makes sure they get to the mountains unhurt. The messages are gentle but quite profound. For example Sniff wants to keep some garnets that Snufkin has discovered. Sniff is scared off by a dragon and Snufkin gently reminds him that some things are better to appreciate from a distance without the need to take them. The lessons and messages in Moominland are never heavily laboured and I love the books because Moomin is allowed to do what he likes yet he's wild and responsible in equal parts. 

These are definitely books that you can appreciate for different reasons as an adult and at times you can sense that Tove is destined to end up writing for adults. Multi-layered and gorgeous - if you've never read them before give them a go. The television programme really caught the flavour of the books for me. So, before I finish, here's one of the more bizarre, beautiful and slightly scary episodes of The Moomins: The Lady of the Cold.


Charlotte said...

Moomin love!

did you hear that the very first Moomin story, The Moomins and the Great Flood, is now available in English for the first time? I am getting it for Christmas!

Rachel Green said...

I loved the moomins books :)

Essjay said...

Hey Charlotte! It's on my wishlist! Am hoping I might get it for Christmas too :-)