In which Ashley reads books about strange creatures...
Several friends mentioned their fondness for Tove Jansson's Moomin series, and I decided to finally read the series. Tove is a Swedish-speaking Finnish artist who published these beloved stories, but the stories have been translated into English throughout the years and I found the almost-complete series in my library. (Mysteriously the first book is difficult to find, but due for reprinting this fall).
The Moomin series revolves around the Moomin family-- Moomintroll, Moominmamma, and Moominpappa. Another creature called Sniff lives with them, and throughout the series more creatures come to live with them in the Moominhouse (which is blue and round with rope ladders from the windows because stairs take too long).
Comet in Moominland is technically the second book, but the editions by Squarefish are referring to it as the first. They came to Moominvalley because the flood washed their house here-- which is referenced throughout the book, but little background exists in this story since we theoretically already read The Moomins and the Great Flood. Regardless of that strangeness there are no holes in this book that would take away from it.
The book begins with Moomintroll and Sniff discovering pearls and a cave. Eventually Muskrat came to the house and predicted a ____ and unnecessary disaster. Strange things started to happen-- the pearls arranged themselves into a star with a tail pattern, as did gulls, jam jars, and pears. When Muskrat tells them it's a comet, they decide to journey to the Observatory to find out what and when it was going to happen.
The language and humor in the books are sophisticated and highly accessible for most readers-- there may be unfamiliar phrases or uncommon expressions to some readers. The characters have unique personalities that complement each other and further the plot.
These are stories about adventure and friendship that are perfect for elementary-aged children, and perhaps middle grade children, but any reader would find the tales enjoyable.