While looking in the library for the original Doctor Doolittle series (which, believe me, is a whole nother story) I remembered another series of books I loved as a child: Moomintrolls.
It is fun to go back to the books you read as a child and see what you think of them when you are grown up. Alice in Wonderland and Winnie the Pooh are nice escapes from the grown-up world. And they have enough good stuff to please the more sophisticated adult reader, too.
But those two books are well-known. When I would talk to my friends about the Moominfamily, I got blank looks.
This was hard to understand! My brother and I read the series voraciously, reading some of them even twice.
I asked my brother if he remembered the Moomins. He did. He even said that the author, Tove Jansson, had won awards for the psychological complexity and apporpriateness of the books.
Well, I finally remembered to remember the Moomins when I was at the library. I grabbed the first Moomin book on the shelf that my hand fell on.
MoominPappa at Sea
Here is the first paragraph:
“One afternoon at the end of August, Moominpappa was walking about in his garden feeling at a loss. He had no idea what to do with himself, because it seemed everything there was to be done had already been done or was being done by sombody else.”
Oh yes. Yes. This was going to be everything I had enjoyed as a child and more. What a perfect description!
Moominpappa and Moominmamma are so real, they have such human feelings and interactions and reactions.
Moomintroll is the perfect introspective child, and Little My is the best bratty little sister.
They meet the most fascinating people and make friends with them as best they can. The stories of their adventures are a kind of magical realism fairy tale.
As you see, I am re-smitten.
BUT! There is very little awareness in America about these wonderful stories!
It’s hard to imagine.
If you have a child, run, don’t walk, to buy these books and read them to your little one.
And if you are looking for a little escape from the grown-up world to a gentler place, read a moominbook. There is no way you will regret it.