Sunday, May 2, 2010

Book Review: Comet in Moominland by Tove Jansson

So my friend Ann is head over heels in love with the Moomins and wants me to go with her to visit their theme park in Finland. Obviously, I needed to at least read one of the books in the series as to avoid something like the Sound of Music Tour incident (in which I paid $30 to go on a tour of the shooting locations for a movie I had not seen yet and hear 70 screaming fans shout "That's the field that she danced in!!"). Ann suggested I start with this one.

Basically, Moomin, a fantasy creature, finds out a comet is on its way to Moominvalley and he sets out on a journey to The Lonely Mountains to ask the scientists at the observatory when it's coming and what he can do about it. On the way he has a bunch of fun adventures escaping dangers such as whirlpools, hungry eagles, bushes, and crocs (apparently you merely have to throw a pair of woolly trousers to fend off a herd of crocs). Oh and he gets a crush on the Snork maiden (that's her pinning a star on Moomin on the cover).

This is really quite an absurd story told in a very matter-of-fact manner. It's silly in the best possible way - a juxtaposition of inventive situations and bizzare characters that never fails to get you giggling and shaking your head. My favorite character might have been the philosopher Muskrat who comes to live with the Moomins because their bridge-building activities destroyed his house - but maybe that's just because I love the drawing of him getting drenched in the rain.

In any case, my reading of this book is excellent timing because the series was just rereleased this past week by FSG and Square Fish! You can read a bunch of posts celebrating Moomin week over at Tor.com too.

19 comments:

Ladytink_534 said...

It's never quite as fun if you can't recognize the places. I've never heard of Moomin's before but I hope you enjoy the theme park regardless!!!

Amy said...

How had you missed watching Sound of Music? It's so funny how different our lives can be, I've seen that movie sooo many times..mostly when I was a little girl!

bermudaonion said...

I've never heard of Moomin, but he sounds like great fun. I've never seen The Sound of Music either.

irisonbooks said...

I had never heard of Moomin, but the cover alone makes me curious to see what it's like. And of course, Neil Gaiman saying it's "a masterpiece" helps.

Lenore said...

Yeah, Neil Gaiman has great taste!

Liviania said...

The Sound of Music was a Christmas tradition in my house.

This sounds fun - I enjoy absurd things.

Charlotte said...

Read Moominland Midwinter next please, Lenore! It is made of awesome!

Nymeth said...

Silly in the best possible way sounds great to me. I have one of the Moomin collections in my tbr pile and really ought to read it one of these days.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Life isn't worth living without watching The Sound of Music. That and Gone with the Wind! Anyway, this book looks adorable and quirky. I want those characters as pets.

Suzanne said...

What an adorable looking book! Thanks for sharing! I have seen The Sound of Music, but I don't think I would be screaming about that field...

Thanks for sharing Moomin! I hope you enjoy this theme park! You'll have to post about it when you do, I'd love to see what kind of amusements they have surrounding the Moomins!

Zibilee said...

You know, I've never read a Moomin book, but I have heard so, so much about them, and apparently they are staples of childhood for some. I am glad you liked the book, and after reading your review, I think I may have to try one of these books. They look like a lot of fun!! I hope you have fun at the Moomin theme park! I'll be interested in hearing how that goes!!

Staci said...

I've never watched Sound of Music either...so don't feel too bad!! :D

Insert Book Title said...

The cover is so cute!

lesbrary said...

I've heard of Moomins, but I didn't know they had books! It looks adorable.

Ali said...

There's a Moomin-land? That's hilarious, I had no idea! I tried to read the books to my oldest son when he was little, but they just didn't grab us at the time. I'll be sure to read them if we ever travel to Finland.

Ladybug said...

I've only read one of Tove Jansson's books about Moomin, not to crazy about it. But I might have had an overdose of Moomin cartoons from my childhood :) Might give them another chance though.

I'm kind of curious to find out if you have seen Sound of Music now? I love that movie :)

Sas said...

They look so cute! I really want to read one of these books now!!

Jeanne said...

I have a blogger friend (ReadersGuide) who loves the Moomins, so I told her it was Moomin week at Tor and credit you for alerting us to it!

Milka said...

Haha, you are going to the theme park? I love it, I went there many times when I was younger. In Finland kids grow up watching moomies (it is this animation made by japanese people but it is based to the stories in Tove Jansson's books) and by hearing stories about moomies etc. Moomies has become a big thing in Finland since it is pretty good advertisement to other countries. You can buy all these moomie things from the airport etc.

But I hope you enjoy the park if you are going there. It is awesome! And the other moomin books are amazing as well, for example moominland at winter or something like that, I don't remember the exact name.