Sunday, November 20, 2011

Week 47: Moomintroll books

Moomintroll series, by Tove Jansson

My parents gave me 5 Moomintroll books for my birthday! They were recently reprinted in a nice paperback edition and I've been coveting them, since I only had a few before and they are very elderly. I got two or three I had never read before (or maybe just don't remember).

Jansson was a Finnish writer, and roughly speaking, as Pippi Longstocking is to Sweden, Moomintroll is to Finland. These are children's classics, so be sure to get them if you're looking for read-alouds for your family. Moomintroll books are not terribly well-known in the US, but they're very popular in Europe and huge in Japan. You can buy all sorts of adorable Moomintroll stuff in Japan--I have a keychain fob and a Snufkin washcloth.

For the uninitiated, Moomins are a kind of troll, distant relatives to ordinary trolls and close cousins to Snorks (but white, while Snorks are green or mauve). They like free and easy living and adventure, and have many odd friends, such as Snufkin the wanderer, Little My, and various Hemulens and Creeps. Though my own favorites are the Hattifatteners.

To start with, I would recommend Finn Family Moomintroll, which is the second book and the easiest to get into. They don't really have any particular order anyway.

6 comments:

Eva said...

What age group would you suggest this is for? My niece is 5 and she still prefers picture books to us reading from chapter books. But it sounds so cute! I read Jansson for the first time earlier this year with The Summer Book and just loved it.

Jean said...

You could definitely read them to a 5-yo, I think, if she's used to chapter book read-alouds. If she has enjoyed things similar to the My Father's Dragon books or Jenny and the Cat Club, these are a step up from that but not as difficult/scary as, say, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (which I would not read to a 5yo).

I should also note that these aren't the most feminist books in the world. Nearly all the major characters are boys, and the Snork Maiden spends a lot of time thinking about her hair. Little My is a welcome addition to the cast in that sense, but she isn't in the first couple of books.

JNCL said...

Okay, I'm definitely going to look into these. My daughter is only 2 now, so I'll keep them in reserve for a couple years, but I still think they look like our sort of thing. BTW, are you on Twitter?
JNCL
The Beauty of Eclecticism

Jean said...

I'm sure you'll enjoy them! Er, I'm officially on Twitter but never log in and have no followers. Are you maybe on facebook? You should be able to find me through the dangermom username.

Faith said...

We love the Moomins! Just this evening my dd asked if we could read them again. She's 10 now and the youngest, I think she was 5 when we read them last. Earlier this fall we had a Finnish student stay with us for night and she gave my dd a Moomin doll. Is it Moomin summer madness where there is the great flood? That book got into my dreams.

jrleek said...

I think the Moomintroll books are a bit hard for most 5 year olds. I'm not really sure how much my 5 year old is getting out of them. My 7 year old likes them a lot though.