Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tove Jansson

If you don't know about her books, you should, since they make delightful summer reads. One is even called The Summer Book, so there you go; it practically demands to be read right now.

Jansson, a Finnish author and illustrator, is best known for her children's books about funny little creatures called Moomins and all their eccentric associates in Moomin Valley. Several of these characters are kind of counter-cultural types, which may explain why the books made their way to the hippie bookstores that my parents would take me and my sister to in the 70s (Mary Ann Samyn, on whom I've foisted some Moomin books, wanted to know if they were "some kind of California thing").  Jansson also did a Moomin comic strip, now published in nice volumes like this one:

The Moomin books are charming, funny, and also a bit wistful, since the characters are occasionally overcome by a particularly Scandinavian kind of melancholy/angst. Plus, they have great drawings.

This is also true of The Summer Book, a more adult-oriented work about a young girl and her grandmother. This slim book is truly lovely--touching without being the least bit sappy.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to Lara, I am currently reading Finn Family Moomintroll, which has thus far (page 32) included hibernation, melancholy, stamp collecting, and the sudden appearance of "five small clouds." I highly recommend the book.