Book 2 of 94: Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

This is a book that has sat unread on the family bookshelf for the last 20 years or so.  I remember seeing it while I was growing up, but I never really took an interest in it.  Now seemed like an appropriate time to read it though.

Summary:  The Moomins are Finnish mythical creatures and this book is the first in the Moomintroll series.  Moomintroll, the lead character, goes on a series of adventures with his family and friends.  They find a magical hat which belongs to the Hobgoblin and causes all sorts of trouble.  They travel to an island and weather a storm and wake the next day to find many treasures along the beach.  This book shares tales of family, the bonds of friendship, and doing the right thing.  It is sweet and endearing and a fun read.

My Three Main Takeaways from Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Number 1:

“And don’t come home until you’re better tempered.” (Jansson, 1958)

This quote is from Moominmamma.  The Moomin family is in the middle of a hot summer and Momminmamma is at her wits end with the children who are all bored and hot and underfoot.  So, Moominmamma suggests that they all go sleep in a cave for three days where it will be cooler and where they can go on their own little adventures and give her some room to breathe.   I found this sentiment to be entertaining because every adult who has been around small children during a hot summer has had a similar thought to this.  However, I wager that it would be socially unacceptable if we were to tell children now that they should go sleep in a cave for a few days.  Or would it be?  Huh, if someone could answer this for me by June that would be greatly appreciated.

Number 2:

“We will go home,” said the Hemulen.  “Strange adventures, and getting wet, and carrying on alone and that sort of thing are all very well, but they’re not comfortable in the long run.”  (Jansson, 1958)

I like that this thought is universal.  I love going on vacation and getting away from my day to day responsibilities, but there always comes a moment when I just want to go home.  I want the comfort of my own bed, I want to take a shower in my own shower, and I even want to go back to work.  However, I am still counting down the days until I can lay on a beach for an entire week this summer!

Number 3:

As I mentioned earlier, this book has been in my house for at least 20 years, and it has existed in the world even longer than that.  The copyright is from 1958!  My imagination is a bit rusty, so I looked up some of the characters online to see if I could get a better description of them.  I was astonished, ASTONISHED, with what I found.  While I have casually ignored the Moomins for the majority of my life, Finland has been celebrating them for the last 70 years.  There is a Fan Club.  There is an entire collection of books.  There are mugs, plates, umbrellas, and even Moomin sneakers for sale.  There is a Moomin café.  There is a theme park.  There is a ballet.  A ballet!!!  Amazing!  Check out this link to see what I am talking about.  Who knows, maybe you need a Snorkmaiden mobile phone bag and you didn’t even know it.

Who should read this book?

  • Children with a 4th -6th grade reading level who have an active imagination and love the world of make-believe.
  • Parents who want a good chapter book to read to their kids and don’t mind explaining some of the things that their kids won’t understand.
  • Apparently anyone who is Finnish. Seriously, I feel like you might lose your Finnish citizenship if you haven’t read the Moomin series.

Who should not read this book?

  • People who don’t like magic.
  • Parents who just want their kids to go to sleep and don’t want to explain to them why the Groke is so sad.
  • Kids who don’t know how to read yet. They will probably just rip out the pages and ruin the book for everyone else.

If you are interested in this book please let me know, as I am happy to send it along to its next home.

Two books down, 92 to go!

Jansson, T. (1958). Finn Family Moomintroll. Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc.

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