Finn Family Moomintroll (Anglais) Relié – octobre 1989
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The drawings are splendidly suited to the text and vice versa. Never a wave so tidal, never a stage so full of high drama, and never Snufkin, Little My, the Filljonk and more brought more fully alive! This book was born to be read aloud, acted out, and literally, to be ROF & LOL at the humor, the wisdom, and the amazing what-happens-next in the perplexities.
It truly IS a Midsummer's Even madness, comedic, and the Moomins at their happiest. First off, cinders spot Moominmamma's fresh laundry, thanks to a far-away volcanic eruption. The eruption is soon followed by a tidal wave, swift and strong that drives all the family first on to their roof, then into a theater floating by. There in one of the funniest send-ups of The Theatre & iambic pentameter, the Moomins and their newest acquaintances---Emma the theatre rat, Whomper, and Misabel---enact a drama involving a lion.
Meanwhile, Snufkin pursuig a lifelong determination to put the demogagic, mean mean mean Park Keeper out of business, encounters Little My whose sister, the Mymble's Daughter, acutely says, "Little My can take care of herself. I'm worried about the people whose paths she crosses." Together, they pursue their revenge which involves---as noted---the acquisition of wandering, independent, unattached Snufkin by 24 adorable young woodies. Snufkin as an anxious pappa is a revealation & tender delight.
But wait, meanwhile, in the third strand, Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden who have been swept away in the flood encounter a depressed Fillyjonk, bringing their transformative love into creating a great Midsummer Night's bonfire than gets them into the clutches of a Hemulic jailkeeper!
And, and, and-----this just BEGINS the story! The tale so far is not a spoiler.
A joy for children of all ages, Jansson at her (and our) happiest and best! Yes, there are shadows yet while being terrified, miserable, anxious CAN be a feeling, it does NOT define one's life or one's own feelings with a little help from our friends.
I love how the Hobgoblin choses to give wishes when he cannot 'snatch' the ruby. A touching statement to the good that can be in everyone...the scary and frightful enemies in our lifes can, and should, be humanized and empathized with.
The book is a wonderful adventure where the Moomin family in good spirits makes the most of a flood which forces the folks in Moomin Valley out of their homes. They will take refuge in an abandoned theater and proceed to put on a play with the guidance of a grouchy theater rat, Emma. Moomintroll and Snorkmaiden get separated from the rest. Further interest is provided by Little My who also gets lost and is found by Snufkin. Snufkin has his own agenda of revenge against the Park Keeper but in the process he inherits the guardianship of 24 little woodies. Hilarity and mayhem ensue, with gentle humor -- and no violence! Also included are some Finnish midsummer traditions. Trademark Tove Jansson ink drawings add to the enjoyment.I'm sure that when the word is spread, these books will also become favorite reading, akin to A.A. Milne, here in the US.
The Moomins are small animals, like pygmy hippos except that they walk on two feet. They live near the sea in Moomin Valley, with various other creatures both real and imaginary, like Sniff, the Muskrat and the Hemulen. What is wonderful about the Moomins is that they are completely accepting of everyone and, indeed, invite anyone who turns up not only to stay with them, but to move in to their ever-expanding household. Various adventures happen to them (in this book mostly arising out of their unwitting acquisition of the Hobgoblin's Hat, which transforms anything that is put into it), but although the author never lapses into sugary sweetness, nothing ever ends unhappily, even for the fearsome Groke.
Ms. Jansson's imagination is marvelous in its inventiveness and detail, and the illustrations bring the characters to life visually. For anyone who has children in the 7-11 range, or for adults like me who are old enough to be children again, this book and its companions will bring nothing but happiness.