Moominland Midwinter

I have just finished reading this book about the Moomintrolls. I am a big fan of the white, fluffy creatures created by Finnish/Swedish author and illustrator, Tove Jansson- I have been to Moomin World in Finland (twice and I live in London), I have lots of cups, glasses and cutlery with Moomin designs (ostensibly for my children but more for my own appreciation) and my children have Moomin puzzles, Moomin beach towels and abbreviated/small children’s versions of the Moomin books (the poor things are going to be Moomined out by the time they reach their teens). But despite all this, I had only ever read one proper complete edition of a Moomin book.

This book was ‘Trollkarlens hat’ ,’Finn Family Moomin Troll in English. I enjoyed it but not enough to go immediately on to to reading another one and it is now several years later that seeing ‘Trollvinter’ or ‘Moominland Midwinter’ in the book shop, I thought I would give the Moomin troll books another go.

I loved it! Finn Family Moomintroll was fun and fluffy and cuddly with a little bit of magic- just as you would expect from the cuddly Moomin family. ‘Moominland Midwinter’ is more melancholic, contemplative and brooding but also very beautiful.

Moomintroll wakes up one day to find himself in the middle of winter, when normally all Moomins are hibernating; he is unable to get back to sleep and gets up to experience snow and real cold for the first time, meeting all sorts of creatures whom he has never previously come across.

The writing is very Nordic in feel, quite lyrical in parts and extremely evocative of winters in the very north of Scandinavia and Finland. I loved the character of Too-Ticky, sitting calmly fishing beneath the ice and delivering wise words, for example, when a bitterly disappointed Moomintroll finally sees a glimmer of real sunlight in the long grey winter, only to almost immediately see it disappear again, Too-Ticky says ‘Well you wouldn’t expect it to come all at once would you?’

Given all the immigration and displaced people in the world just now, this story seems particularly apt. The Moomin winter is full of lost people, finding their way in a new land.

‘There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep—then they appear.’

Lots to think about in this book. I can really recommend it.

Please follow:

Junibacken

I was in Stockholm last week- all lush and green and fresh spring weather; there is an expression in Swedish ‘mellan hägg och siren’ (between the cherry blossom and the lilac)- the peak of spring when all is verdant and beautiful- I hit this time and it was gorgeous.

As I was in the company of lots of children, a visit to Junibacken in central Stockholm was essential.  Junibacken is a children’s museum focused on entertainment taken from the books of Astrid Lindgren (author of Pippi Longstocking) but  also including stories by other Scandinavian children’s authors.  The highlight for me is always ‘saga tåget’ the fairy tale train that takes you on a fantastical journey through the stories of Astrid Lindgren- you fly over the roof tops like Carlsson on the roof, journey through the dark forests of Ronia, the robber’s daughter and glide through the Cherry Blossom Valley in The Brothers Lionheart.  I am not sure who loves it more- me or my toddler son!

The Moomin Room, Junibacken

The Moomin Room, Junibacken

 

One room at Junibacken is filled with fantasy houses from various stories where children can climb, play and run around and there is live theatre for older children.  This year the Moomin Room opened- an enchanting recreation of Tove Jansson’s magical Moomin Valley, complete with a carousel, rowing boat and mini observatory.

Going back to Pippi Longstocking, it is her seventieth birthday this year and I gather that there were big celebrations the day after I left! Happy birthday Pippi!

Junibacken

 

Please follow: