17 Sep 2006, Comments Off on Don’t mess with Moomins

Don’t mess with Moomins

Author: Helen

Coincidences dog my life. (No, dog as in follow, this isn’t a dog blog.) The day after I’ve been into Readers’ Feast to buy a copy of You Must Like Cricket! for my cricket mad Dad, and it has occurred to me I’ve been meaning to buy a copy of Finn Family Moomintroll for Boychild, because it’s a children’s book I have loved all my life, so I buy it, and today I visit Crooked Timber and find this post.

If you haven’t read the Moomintroll series or bought them for your kids, you must do so, at once. Then you will know the story behind this:


Belle and I also have plans to construct a plush Groke toy for children’s beds. It will have an opening in which you insert one of those athletic injury cold paks, so in the morning your bed has a horrid cold spot.

Image from http://www.geocities.com/lindashippert/moomin/moomins.html

There used to be a quiz to find out which character you are in the Moomin series. Sadly, it’s gone, completely, it seems. I was the Muskrat, the grumpy philosopher. Bah! Humbug!

Like me, John Holbo dislikes people messing with his childhood books. There’s a new Moomin comic strip out, which you can sample from the Crooked Timber post. Is that a blessing or a curse?


Now that I see samples for the first time, my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, the art answers gorgeously to my need to feed my eyes on all the antlers and pajamas and especially the triangular noses and the over-sized ones. But the characters are all changed.

Japanese and European anime artists have already produced comic strips and animations. One day Bloody Disney will discover the Moomin series, and then I will be truly desolate.

Comments (0)

  • TimT says:

    I love that picture.

  • David Weman says:

    You didn’t read very closely. The strip is from the 50s and by Tove Jansson.

  • Helen says:

    Yes, the strip is, but if you look at the Wikipedia entry other versions, such as anime, have sprung up.

    To make it clearer what John means I’ll quote a bit more of the section of his post above:

    But the characters are all changed.

    Hattifatteners who demand cocktails?

    Where’s the small jolt of the silent, nordic, static electricity of vaguely yearning existential dread in that? No Moominmamma and Moominpappa? Sniff as an incompetent, pushy get-rich-quick schemer, played to broad, slapstick effect? Silly fake elixir of youth turning old ladies into old men who roar off after can-can girls? Obviously I must withhold judgment, but it looks as though – at least initially – Jansson didn’t trust the subtle tones of her storytelling to the three-panel form and somewhat condescended to it, letting lovely pictures do all the work. Or maybe she just has to grow into it.

    If you’ve read FFM as a child, the hattifatteners are a bit creepy! To have them march into Moominhouse and demand cocktails is just a bit too jolly. There is a lovely eerie touch to FFM which the strip seems to have abandoned.

    Of course, that’s just me (and John Holbo) and many people might actually prefer the strip.

  • tigtog says:

    I never discovered the Moomins until I was a preteen reading them to a younger sibling at bedtime. I ended up loving them just as much as she did.

    Thanks for reviving those memories.

  • suzoz says:

    I didn’t discover the Moomins until about three years ago when I got Hugh Laurie’s BBC narration of the stories for my son. Since then we’ve got most of the books and read them all and I adore them. Wish I *had* known them when I was a child.

  • Helen says:

    Really, Suzoz? That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard of for a long time – Doctor House narrating Moomintrolls! ROFL!

    (Limping along corridor with a stick), “Moominmamma, that caring for everyone schtick might go down OK for some people, but please. Snufkin, you’re a f**in neurotic. If you wanna go and travel the world, don’t let me stop you. Where are my pills???! (Glug) Aaargh, where was I? Hemulen, have you done the damn intubation on that goddamned hattifattener woman…”

    etc.

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