Moomintroll Sets Sail

Moomintroll Sets Sail
Alex Haridi, Cecilia Davidsson & Filippa Widlund
Macmillan Children’s Books

This adventure in the magical world of Moominvalley that so many of us loved to escape to as children, is an adaptation from the Tove Jansson classic by Alex Haridi and Celia Davidsson with illustrations by Filippa Widlund.

It all begins with Moominpappa leading Moomintroll, Little My and Sniff through the forest to reveal his latest enterprise, a sturdy boat he’s named Ocean Orchestra.

There’s a distinct snag though: the boat is on land and far too heavy to drag to the river. Instead the river must come to the boat. And so it does, courtesy of a creature called Edward the Booble. Then it’s all aboard (not the Booble) and away down the river and out to sea.

It’s not all plain sailing though for there’s a rescue (Hemulen’s aunt in a very bad mood – to start with but it improves after a night’s sleep),

a visitation from niblings, one of which gets left behind aboard the Ocean Orchestra; and as a second night falls, a huge storm blows up.

Can the Ocean Orchestra make it safely back to Moominvalley with all the Moomin family or might it be a case of lost in the storm?

As always this is full of the usual Moomin idealism, sensitivity, kindness and courage – sheer delight.

Welcome to Moomin Valley: The Handbook

Welcome to Moomin Valley: The Handbook
Macmillan Children’s Books

I’ve been an ardent Moomin fan since first reading Tove Jansson’s Finn Family Moomintroll and Comet in Moominland as a child of primary school age. So, I was thrilled to receive this handbook for review. Written by Amanda Li, it’s based on the animated TV series that sprung from the wonderful world of Moominvalley that Tove created. I was fascinated to learn from the introductory ‘How it All began’ that there’s even been a Moomins opera made.

Essentially though this colourful book is a guide to the world of the Moominvalley animation, the illustrations being based on Tove Jansson’s classic art.  First we meet the family (that includes special friends who when staying in the Moominhouse, become temporary family members), after which Moomintroll, Moominmamma and Moominpapa each have a page devoted to them describing their main characteristics and in the same section we’re provided with a brief Moomin history.

Next come the diverse group of the family’s visitors including the romantic Snorkmaiden who is besotted with Moomintroll.

The Moomin family residence is in the peaceful Moominvalley where they live in harmony with their environment. Due to their plethora of visitors they’ve had to extend their cylindrical home and it’s now the tallest building in the valley.

We read of their adventures, both at sea and on land, and

learn how they love to celebrate. We humans could do well to learn from them for they frequently ‘find meaning in the little things in life’. There’s magic too in the valley, especially at midsummer.

One chapter that immediately caught my attention was that called Rule Makers and Rule Breakers, the latter being of particular interest. There was of course Little My, rule breaker par excellence and a character after my own heart,

as is Snufkin, disliker of petty rules and regulations.

Further chapters are given over to ideas of the bright kind; kindness, the natural world of the valley and in Misunderstood Creatures we’re introduced to the likes of Groke and the hattifatteners. As anywhere there are seasonal changes in Moominvalley and these too are discussed. Then, beautifully rounding off the book, on the final 3 spreads, there’s ‘An A-Z of Moominvalley.

Tove Jansson died almost 20 years ago and since then there has been an enormous renewal of interest in her work. The Moomin books with their original artwork have been reissued as well as her fiction for adults. There have also been exhibitions and a biography in 2014 marking the centenary of her birth.

Moomins will never go out of favour so far as I’m concerned and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in this book.

Christmas Comes to Moominvalley

Christmas Comes to Moominvalley
Alex Haridi, Cecilia Davidsson and Filippa Widlund
Macmillan Children’s Books

I’ve adored Tove Jansson’s Moomins since I was a child and it’s wonderful to be back in Moominvalley with an adaptation of Tove’s classic The Fir Tree story by contemporary Scandi. authors Alex Haridi and Cecilia Davidsson with illustrations by Filippa Widlund.

Without further ado let’s head over to Moominvalley where the Moomin family are all nestled in for their long winter sleep. Not so Hemulen though who crash lands unceremoniously into their attic and then proceeds to disturb the slumberers and tell them about Christmas, something they too should be getting ready for.

Now being as they’re normally asleep the Moomins know nothing about this Christmas business save that it sounds dreadful.
Once wide awake though, they climb out onto the roof from whence Hemulen came and from there they spy a friend who tells them they need a fir tree before night falls.

While the others are donning their warm attire and going off to obtain the tree, Moominmamma discovers a tiny little creature shivering beneath the veranda and she invites it in for a hot drink.

It’s with the help of this tiny being that they manage eventually to adorn their tree and rustle up some favourite foods. But just when they think everything is going well, Hemulen reappears with talk of presents so they too are organised, after which the Moomins sit back and wait for disaster to strike.

Meanwhile the little creature has assembled all its friends and relations – just in time for Moominmamma to make a special announcement that will bring all those woodies, toffles and creeps the most wonderful Christmas surprise ever.
And who cares if something other than a star is atop their Christmas tree – or is it?

Then with their fears and misunderstandings set aside, there’s only one thing for the Moomins to do: retire to bed once more and wait for spring.

Perfect wintry reading to snuggle down with – it’s gently humorous, reassuring and gives you a wonderfully warm feeling inside.