Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My

The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My
Tove Jansson (English version by Sophie Hannah)
Originally: Hur gick det sen, 1952
pubbed in English in lots of versions
the latest being from Drawn and Quarterly's Enfant imprint, 2009

For years, I've been hearing about the Moomin. First from my Finnish-blooded Texas BFF, who loved them all as a child and has passed that passion down to her two lovely daughters. Then through design blogs and the wonderful world of the Internet. Except for brief glimpses of the books at my friend's house, we've never owned or fully read any of them until the Easter Bunny was kind enough to plop one in the boy's basket. (I hear he/she got it at The Twig, but I could be wrong.) Well, for all those readers who are not quite yet in the know, I think it's safe to say that the Moomin (Mumintroll) are the Finnish equivalent of Mickey Mouse. Beginning in 1945, first there were novels and comic strips, then picture books and eventually televisions shows, merchandise, a theme park and finally MOVIES! (I have all fingers and toes crossed that this one will make it to Texas, but somehow I doubt it.)

That said, the Moomin are trolls that look sort of like hippos and there are loads of other characters who, if and when you become a die-hard fan, make up a fully-realized imaginary world of awesome. In this adventure, we find Moomin traveling home through the woods with a jug of milk for his Mum.

Here's little Moomintroll, none other,
Hurrying home with milk for Mother.
Quick, Moomintroll, it's nearly night.
Run home while there's a bit of light.
Don't hang around in WOODS like these.
Strange creatures lurk between the trees.
The wind begins to howl and hiss.
Now, guess what happens after THIS.

Each spread ends with a cliff hanger that is accented by a die-cut giving you a peek of the action on the next page. Really brilliant. By and by, the Moomintroll comes across his friend Mymble who is weeping over her lost sister Little My. The two take up the quest to locate her, meeting all sorts of beings and adventures along the way.

Seriously, everything about this book I love. The matte finish, the colors, the lyrics, the shapes of the characters, how the words are drawn. And to think this book is over fifty years old, really blows my mind. My son totally got it from the get go, and he's dragged the book around with him for the last few days. I'm not sure why after five years of cajoling by my friend it took us this long to get to Moomin, but now that we're here, I suspect the birthday bird is gonna be toting more than a few of these tomes come May.

(I'm particularly endeared to the die-cut on the back cover that offers a view out into the real world. Marvelous, I tell you!!!)

Also by: Who Will Comfort Toffle?


leenaelina said...

This is one of my alltime favorite books !! Im still reading it even I am almost 30 ... :) I really love Tove Janssons illustrations!

gef said...

actually the first moomin books are chapter books, or novels really (they get more sophisticated as they go on), in the 1940s; the comix came a little later. the novels are fantastic and can't be compared to anything else. (but as your finn-blooded tx bff, i am biased.)before the b-day bird goes shopping, let me check for doubles in my moominlibrary

Lolanose said...

The book, like most things Finnish, is weird and messed up. While some Europeans would have you read pop-up books, the Finns have you turn page after page to reveal a plot point, using die-cut illustrations to animate the story. Brilliant and touching, if you read it, you'll always remember it. Still, the chapter books are better.

Burgin Streetman said...

wow. a comment from both mr. and mrs. awesome... so honored... and momma loves doubles!

see you in the early pm.

Wesley Adams said...

Hello, fellow MOOMIN fans! I’ve just found my way to this blog thanks to Google alert. I’m the Moomin editor here at Macmillan Kids in New York. We are the North American publisher of the Moomin novels and I’m pleased to let you know that we are reissuing the books in hardcover and paperback with dazzling new covers and redesigned, reset interiors. We’re publishing the first four next month, and the other four in the fall. For more info, check out: We’re also launching a line of Moomin novelty books in Feburary. Stay tuned, and feel free to be in touch with me for more information.

All best,

Wesley Adams, Executive Editor, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Playing by the book said...

Lucky you to have just discovered the Moomins - a wonderful world awaits you!

Anonymous said...

So glad to see you've discovered these books (do you have the 2nd Moomin picture book? Not sure it's out in the US yet) and especially delighted to hear that your son is crazy about it. I'm waiting for Moomin fever to take over the US. Fingers crossed it will—and soon!

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