“It was a funny little path, winding here and there, dashing off in different directions, and sometimes even tying a knot in itself from sheer joy. (You don’t get tired of a path like that, and I’m not sure that it doesn’t get you home quicker in the end.)”
– Tove Jansson, Comet in Moominland
My recent travels in Scandinavia, and my lasting love for the Moomins, just prompted me to reread one of my favourite books from childhood. I reckon I was 9 or 10 when I read this and I loved it, and I reread it, and I tried (unsuccessfully) to find another book from the series.
The book was written by the Swedish-speaking Finnish artist and writer, Tove Jansson, in 1946. This was the second in the series, but it was probably this and the third one that really triggered her fame. The short series has sold in its millions and they have been translated into over 40 languages. The Comet was translated in 1951 and the Puffin version came out in 1967, which is more or less when I discovered it.
The books are easy reading and enticing, full of a variety of fascinating characters, beautiful countryside, and adventures of all sizes. Not all the characters are normal or even nice, but everyone is accepted for what they are. It features an outdoor life, with intricately described forests, fields, mountains, rivers and sea, and the gorgeously woven words are supplemented by cute illustrations. The Moomins provide a strong lesson in positivity and kindness.
What is more, I am pleased to know that many others are big fans of these books, including some of my newer favourite authors – Michael Morpurgo, Phillip Pullman and Frank Cottrell Boyce to name a few.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 5 February 2016