Here be moomins

Like a fool, I have gone back to my childhood favourites – the Moomins for some inspiration. All my copies are in storage so I borrowed Moominsummer Madness from the library and read a little every night. I say “like a fool” because it means that everything I try to write and every idea I have for my own work is way too heavily influenced by Tove Jansson and her creatures to be anything more than a really bad imitation. Ah well. I will work them out of my system I guess.
“Every children’s book should have a path in it where the writer stops and the child goes on. A threat or a delight that can never be explained. A face never completely revealed.” (Tove Jansson in Moominvalley, ed. by Mirja Kivi, 1998)

Some Tove Jansson links of interest:
Her illustrations from a 1962 translation of the Hobbit “Bilbo – en hobbits äventyr” and “Liisan saikkailut ihmemaassa” or Alice in Wonderland from 1966(?) and from the same site – a collection of moomin stamps (and if anyone has access to old stamps from finland, I would love to hear from you. I am particularly keen on the lot from 1992)
Shelley Jackson on Tove in the LA Weekly in 2002
And Ben is off to Helsinki tomorrow where he is sure to spend hours at Tampere in the Moomin Museum! After reading Caterina’s list of things to do in Helsinki, it’s now been added to my ‘places I really need to see’ list.

16 Responses to “Here be moomins”


    oh my gosh! i LOVE the moomins so much and haven’t ever found any who has heard of them! you should look on ebay – there is usually lots of moomin things on there. i saved Tove’s obit from Newsweek for some freakish reason. i can’t find a bunch of my books, maybe i’ll have to ask for new ones for my birthday.


    and… my mom still has to frequently burst into “All Small Beasts shall have bows in their tails”!


    Greetings from land of Moomins! There is going to be new stamp publication in August: Moomins.


    you do know there exists/existed a band called the hattifatteners that wrote some very strange songs that, i’m told, are all somehow related to the moomin…things. i actually know nothing about the books, and i just bought the record because chan marshall (alias cat power) was on a couple tracks. but it’s some weird, kind of funny stuff… in that “ha ha… i don’t get it.” sort of way.


    I live in Japan and it is Moomin Mania over here! My bank card and bank book are all Moomin. Cute stuff.


    I have always loved the moomins. For some strange reason, my daughter dug out Comet in Moominland and Moominsummer Madness just the other day. Then I read this post. Strange!I always wanted to be Snufkin but ended up more like Moominmamma.


    OK – I have never heard of a moomin?! I found this cute and they are so cute! I am from the states & never heard of them. I feel left out. : ^ )


    Wow. Thoroughly inspired for the day! Why have I never heard of Tove Jansson before this?! Thanks for the links..I’ll be happily edumacating myself about this illustrator/author very shortly!


    i grew up with the moomins and it was so sad when tove jansson died!! but at least her books and characters still live with us. i like to believe that tove jansson and the swedish childrens book author astrid lindgren (pippi longstocking etc) are playing chess up in heaven (why chess? i have no idea, that was my very first thought i had when those two died!)… anyway, would cancelled moomin stamps do? i have some penpals in finland and they sometimes use moomin stamps and if you want i can save those for you as well as ask them to buy a whole new set for you?


    I work at a bookstore in snowy snowy Vermont, and right now, for our Saturday afternoon storytime, one of the staff is reading a chapter of Moominland Midwinter each week to the kids who come. It is one of my favorite cozy winter books.


    Wow. I often make references to moomins and very rarely do people understand what I am on about. I only have Comet in Moominland at the moment but this was a good reminder to get it out. Thank you for a beautiful, playful and stylish website.


    Your site is fantastic. Every time I visit I find something new and inspiring. Tove Jansson’s drawings are lovely.Thank you.


    Hi Claire!
    I´ve been a fan of your site for a couple of years already. If you insist, I can check out a couple of stamp-collectors-shops here in Helsinki, if such things exist. (but i would need a small drawing of a monkey (hylobates lar, in English “lar gibbon”, in Finnish “lari”) for my business card in exchange!?, Wanna make a deal? 🙂

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