April 3, 2014

The Moomins and the Great Flood

I have MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMINS for you today! MOOOOOOOOOOOOMINS! I have the coolest thing ever for you! 'The Moomins and the Great Flood' by Tove Jansson. Here's why you should be reading any and all Moomin books.

'Cuz I said so. Ha ha ha ha!

Ok that's not really why. I've talked about Moomins in a number of other posts, which I am too lazybones to link to, which is why I'm a Bad Blogger.

 I don't know if I have the skill to be able to articulate how awesome the Moomin world is. Europeans know, you should go ask them, Moomins are way more popular in Europe than they are here for some reason. I am often met with blank stares when I start freaking out about the Moomin books, and people are like, what are those?

Sigh.

How do they NOT KNOW????????????

I will be very patient and loving and I will attempt to explain. The Moomins are little, friendly, troll-like creatures who live in the wild mountains of Finland.  They adventure about. (do you ever go adventuring about?) They escape from comets, which may, or mayn't, be about to crash down upon their home. They spend a lot of time planning their meals, which always involve coffee and little cream cakes.

They take rides on small, fluffy clouds.

Their ancestors live behind stoves.

They create impromptu theatrical companies.

DO I REALLY NEED TO GO ON??? They make their own little theatre troupe!

 These books......they will enhance your life in every way. How's that for an endorsement?

When I was 8 and 9, they were my favorite books. I gave my old copy of 'Finn Family Moomintroll' to Julia (that is the intro to the series, and the one you should start with, although you could also start with today's book since it is technically Book 1 ~ but the complete cast of characters is laid out in 'Finn Family') and she plowed right through and then instantly read 'Comet in Moominland' and 'Moominland Midwinter'.

Why with Xtreme Life Enhancement?? Because of THE SWEETNESS. And the charm. Which, friends......most of the time I find totally lacking in most modern books.

I have read a lot of kid books. A LOT OF KID BOOKS. And in the whole of my life, I have never read anything as unusual and unique as the adventures of Moomintroll, his best friend Snufkin, the Snork Maiden (she has bangs, of which she is very proud), Little My (my favorite character in the history of the world -- she is so sassy and naughty), and the Groke. The Groke is bad news (not sure why, she mostly slides around looking menacing, but otherwise does nothing particularly objectionable).

There is a FILLYJONK. (she is very nervous and cleans too much.) OMG I think I am a fillyjonk!!!! Except lately I've given up on cleaning.

All of the Moomintroll books are chapter books, and don't be deceived by the cute little troll creature thing ~ the writing is clever and witty, and is fairly sophisticated in tone.

Don't hand these books to your 5 or 6 year old to read is what I'm saying. I really don't think these books should be read before age 7, the humor will just be wasted on smaller kids, even if you read it to them. (although today's book, which is simpler and shorter than the others, you could read to your 6 yr old. Go right ahead.) That's just my opinion, feel free to do WHATEVER YOU LIKE.

(if you want your smaller kids to get in on some Moomin action, get them this book.)


So what's cool about 'The Moomins and the Great Flood', (newly published in English FOR THE FIRST TIME), is that it actually is the very first Moomin book written by Tove Jansson. It's considerably shorter in length than the other books in the series, but has all the charm and whimsy of the other books.

In this one, Moomintroll and Moominmama are searching for Moominpapa, who was washed away in a great flood. Eventually, after making their way through Perilous Landscapes inhabited by Strange Beings, they reconnect with Papa, who has built them a new home in what is to become Moominvalley. (the setting of all of the future books)

I've failed to mention the art. There are full color illustrations in this story, which makes it totally unique amongst the Moomin pantheon of books. As well as tiny detailed pen and ink drawings on nearly every page. From an art perspective alone, this edition is GLORIOUS. Every Moomin lover must have it.

If I manage to accomplish ONLY ONE THING with this blog....let it be that I've introduced some folks to the Moomin books. No childhood should go by without Moomins in it. How's that for a statement??

Update: i neglected to mention the lovely quilt, which my husband's cousin made for Julia when she was born ~ this cousin is a wonder and a genius and kind and talented and beautiful and it seems unfair and absurd that she is all of these things, but she is! A living angel. :)

12 comments:

  1. Please tell me where your gorgeous quilt is from??

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    1. Andrew's cousin made it! isn't it amazing??

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  2. You have accomplished your blogging goal! I am fascinated by your introduction to this book and I think my bigger two would love it. It would be fun to read it aloud to them, and then let them attempt the longer, more difficult books later on their own. That cover illustration just grabs my attention.

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    1. Don't get me wrong, Finn Family Moomintroll isn't a terribly long chapter book, Julia zipped thru it in a couple of days, and it's not, like, hard to understand or anything -- but I just think....it is best starting at age 7.

      this book here could be read in a day or 2 bedtime story sessions :)

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  3. I didn't grow up with the Moomins so they are a curiosity to me. Very nice book art though and I like their origins (who wouldn't like riding on fluffy clouds?!!!) and their cute troll body!

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    1. Jansson's art is soooooooooooo amazzzzzzzzzzzzing and cute!

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  4. Moomins are awesome. I like them better than my kids, though. Love the cover of this one! Beautiful quilt, too.

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    1. we had one Moomin book that Julia couldn't get into -- 'Moominvalley in November'. We stopped halfway through. That one, it's weird, it's very philosophical and kind of meditative and Julia was like....'can we read something else??' :)

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  5. I have just borrowed it digitally from my library and am now waiting for my six year old to wake so we can read it :-)
    Your blog is always so great and informative, and I have checked out so much stuff/cooked stuff/made moonlight tea/could go on forever, as a result of this blog. So I guess I just wanted to stop by and say thanks

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    1. can i just say.....THANK YOU. so, so much. lately, i've been very tempted to throw in the towel on blogging and photography and just go back to something consistent like I had when I was a practicing attorney -- but i never want to return to that world full time. i've been trying to figure out how I can preserve the creative endeavors i want to pursue (and the time to do them) as well actually...wait for it....make some kind of decent living! :) i need the right part time legal job to fall in my lap, or go chase it down. or something. Anyway ~ thank you again for the kind words, I totally totally appreciate it!

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    2. No worries at all. We got halfway through. Moomins and the great flood, and are now trying to get ready crazy quickly for school/work so we can squeeze in some more Moomins time before leaving!
      Good luck with finding the right decision. I have to say when I worked part time, it was the best time of my life in terms of work life family balance. Good luck with the chasing!

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  6. Cute!
    Side note: I seriously want to steal your quilt. ;)

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