You Should Read This: The Moomintroll Books by Tove Jansson

Illustration from Moominland Midwinter

This illustration comes from one of my favorites, Moominland Midwinter, showing Moomintroll and Tooticky around the snow lantern Tooticky has built.

I found these books as part of the reading list in the back of Jacqueline Jackson’s Turn Not Pale, Beloved Snail. They are why I’ve always wanted to go to Finland.

What: Moomintroll and the other Moomins are odd creatures living among a cast of equally odd characters: the Snork Maiden, the Fillyjonk, the Hemulen. The books need not be read in consecutive order. There’s quite a few of them, including Comet in Moominland, Finn Family Moomintroll, Moominpappa at Sea, Moominsummer Madness, Moominvalley in November, Moominland Midwinter and Tales from Moominvalley, some of which are available in cartoon form as well.

Who: Again kids as well as those who love literature written for kids will love these. There is a quiet charm and gentle oddness to the Moomin books that is enthralling.

Why: Read these for enjoyment, or to take apart and see how Jansson has rendered our world in charmingly fractured form. Read them to see an example of children’s books that knock your socks off with charm.

When and where and how: Read Moominland Midwinter when it’s snowy and solitary outside and you want to imagine the lonesome Groke wandering in search of warmth. Really it’s not so much a question of when to read them as when they’ll return to you, at odd moments on the ferry or seeing a wave crest.


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About Cat

Cat Rambo lives, writes, and teaches by the shores of an eagle-haunted lake in the Pacific Northwest. Her 200+ fiction publications include stories in Asimov's, Clarkesworld Magazine, and the magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Her story, "Five Ways to Fall in Love on Planet Porcelain," from her collection Near + Far (Hydra House Books), was a 2012 Nebula nominee. Her editorship of Fantasy Magazine earned her a World Fantasy Award nomination in 2012. She is the current President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). She is currently working on Exiles of Tabat, the third book of the Tabat Quartet. A new story collection, Neither Here Nor There, appears from Hydra House this fall.
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