Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Moomintroll Mania

We are on a Moomintroll kick. I had never heard of these books, but a tip from (un)relaxeddad sent me searching the library.

We have now read Finn Family Moomintroll several times, and I plan to swing by the library again tomorrow to get more books.

If you don't know already, the Moomins are Scandinavian trolls, but not the hairy, dirty, nocturnal kind. Moomins love the sun and hibernate all winter. They are round, fat, and white with big noses, almost like hippos. They love pancakes, and parties, and excursions on the sea. The Moominhouse is open to any new friends who happen to come by:

"Moomintroll's mother and father always welcomed all their friends in the same quiet way, just adding another bed and putting another leaf in the dining-room table."
Doesn't that sound lovely! Of course, there are odd bits too, like the Hattifatteners, who are strange creatures that reminded me of the kodama in Princess Mononoke, except the Hattifatteners sting like nettles, and become electrified during thunderstorms. They are ominous little creatures. The Hobgoblin, with his glowing red eyes and flying panther, was a bit scary for us too, but he turned out to be a bit different than we expected. And the Groke, who freezes everything she touches and speaks in monosyllables, was a bit creepy as well.

I found these books very entertaining for me as an adult. It's like there are little bonus jokes for adults hidden inside the otherwise whimsical stories. During a party, Moominpappa makes a speech, thanking people, exhorting all the guests to be happy, "and then he began to talk about his youth. This was the signal for Moominmamma to push in a whole trolleyful of pancakes, and everybody clapped."

I'm waiting to learn more about Snufkin, who loves traveling, plays the harmonica, and sleeps in a tent; the Hemulen, who is not very brave, loves collecting things, and wears a dress; Sniff, who looks kind of like a kangaroo and acts like a little brother; and the Snork and Snork Maiden, who look pretty much like Moomintrolls but somehow are different.

We've moved from picture books to chapter books with SillyBilly. Even though he's only 4 1/2, and typically Waldorf families don't read such long books to children that young, SillyBilly just eats them up. During quiet time when his sister is napping, or when we have to give him his asthma medicine in the nebulizer, we can sit and read these books forever. "Read more, Mama!!"

Other recent chapter book hits:
Stuart Little
Little House in the Big Woods
Farmer Boy
Happy Times in Noisy Village
The Cricket in Times Square

2 comments:

(un)relaxeddad said...

Drawn and Quarterly have started republishing the complete Evening standard comic strips she drew in the 1950s - more for grown-ups, full of Moomins in four frame bites and just as droll (if more satiric). Beautifully bound too. Treat yourself!

Henitsirk said...

URD, I'm reading Exploits of Moominpappa, and I think it's a bit too grown-up for my kids. I'll keep it all to myself and annoy my husband by reading the funny bits out loud.

Thanks for the comic strip tip!