Apr 26 2010 5:45pm

Introduction to Moominweek!

tove jansson with moominsMoomins! They are round and fuzzy creatures filled with adorability who live in a small valley and live a generally pastoral kind of life. There is Moomin (who is the cutest) and his parents and a variety of other creatures who together have very ordinary experiences. But you know how sometimes you’re reading someone like Shirley Jackson and her writing makes the ordinary more extraordinary than the extraordinary could possibly be? The Moomins are like that. Except they are extraordinary in the first place, being fantastical hippo creatures like the ones at the right, and they star in a series of books and comics by Tove Janssen, also at the right, eyebrow quirked.

So we bring to you a whole week of Moomins, in celebration of them being awesome, and also in celebration of the fact that FSG and Square Fish are republishing the series with packaging that looks like it actually comes from this century, and Drawn & Quarterly is collecting all the excellent Moomin comics, and the New York Review of Books is publishing Tove Jansson’s novels for adults, so all in all, a lovely conflation of events. Check back on the front page every day this week for a Moomin round-up!

Moominweek Index

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Dru O'Higgins
1. bellman
I love the Moomins! I still have all the books, some of which are falling apart. I didn't know she ever wrote adult books.
2. a-j
Brilliant. The Moomins are a treasure and I look forward to this week. My parents discovered them through the comic strip when it was published in the London Evening Standard and the books were duly read to all of us in our turn. They're funny, touching, wise, melancholic, cheering and deeply life-affirming. They are about the only books where I tell people who haven't read them to do so now, no now, this very second, nonsense you can married another day.

Her adult fiction is excellent too.
3. a-j
Sort of books have published four of her adult books in English so far. I believe there are about 17 in all.

But back to moomins. As a child, Finn Family Moomintroll and The Exploits of Moominpappa were my favourites. As an adult, Momminvalley Midwinter and Moominpappa at Sea join them. The latter was very ground-breaking in its day. Children's books about the male menopause may be two-a-penny these days but they were scarce in early '70s England.
Nina Lourie
4. supertailz
I was so in love with Moomins as a kid and I'm entirely excited about this news. BUT I worry when you say "packaging that looks like it comes from this century". Does this mean it's automatically about 5 times more ugly? :( Pls for no be trufax!
Gabriele Campbell
5. G-Campbell
Ah, the dear old Moomins - or Mumins, as they were spelled in the German translation. I wonder where the books are hiding; probably somewhere in the vast accumulation of stuff that is my SiL's house. ;) She's the one with the kids.
Samantha Brandt
6. Talia
I have never heard hide nor hair of these. Perhaps I have been living under a rock...?
7. domitype
I would not have known about this whole Moomin thing without my exposure to over the last 7 years - so many iconographic images of British historical pop culture would have never been satirized so well without this particular website.

It is amazing that such strange worlds as The Clangers or the character Mr. Blobby could exist for many years without ever being slightly known in the USA! Even the Teletubbies were doing there strange things for years before PBS found out about them!

I think Dr.Who, The Avengers, and The Prisoner were the anomalies -they made little sense to most American TV viewers, but somehow they were able to cross the Atlantic and enter the world of American culture - maybe 007 had something to do with it, but I am not sure.
Eugene Myers
8. ecmyers
I think I've only read one Moomin book, but I read it over and over again as a child. I always meant to read more of the series. I didn't realize until much later what a phenomenon they are.
Eli Bishop
9. EliBishop
Happy to see a Moomin week here, and thrilled to see the books getting reprinted. Now, since is the Internet, I will find something to complain about:

Those new Macmillan book covers are AWFUL. "This century," my foot. I may be an old fart from 1972 but I know there are plenty of good graphic designers in this century, and they wouldn't have just snipped out a few characters from Jansson's beautiful art, posed them in generic innocuous tableaus on a blank background, and then Photoshopped in some feeble drop-shadows so that instead of flat drawings on a book, you have flat drawings that are for some reason hovering a quarter-inch over the book. Ick, boo.

Fortunately, the Moomin comic strip collections from Drawn & Quarterly are some of the most beautiful books I've ever seen.
10. mta
The Moomins really are the best ... Funny, melancholic, moody, magical ... I'm so glad you're highlighting them.

I have to echo the dislike, however, for Macmillan's "packaging which looks like it comes from this century." Those covers look awful -- very soft, bland, and non-descript. And the books don't come from this century. That's part of their charm.

But regardless -- thank you for honoring the Moomins and furthering the cause!
11. Stefan13
There was a german TV show in I think 1959 about the Moomins, with puppets by the Augsburger Puppenkiste. I´m a fan since then...

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