The Moomins were written and illustrated by Tove Jansson, a classic bohemian figure, who lived for much of her life on a small island in Finland, from where much of the inspiration for these quietly surreal strips came from. The stories are full of delicate and poignant observations of life, much like her adult prose, and sing with a homespun, joyous wisdom.
The moomins themselves are curious, wonderful, often confused, upside down, and surprising emotional. Each character is rich and full, despite the miniature nature of the format: very little text, and small, often sparsely detailed, economic illustrations. Janson managed to pack so much of everything into these strips, and incredibly, each individually published small strip is successful in its own right, away from the larger arcs of the story; something which seems to get even better as she gained experience of working in this way.
Ostensibly, you might think these stories are for children, like the moomin books, however, they were acually made for adult publication and where circulated in newspapers in over 40 countries through out the world. Children from perhaps 7 years old (perhaps even younger) could certainly get a great deal from them, not least the fabulous adventures of Moomin himself, or the funny auxilary character like Sniff (who just seems to think of money and fame), and Stink (who seems equally cynical).
I came at these strips after having read Janssons adult fiction, namely The Winter Book and The Summer Book, where she quickly established herself as one of my favourite authors, and with some familiarity with the Moomins cartoon. I was not disapointed. My only problem when i had finished the first of these 'Complete' collections, was the disappointment over returning to the normal world, and having to wait for the next book to arrive.
There's a little bit of these characters in all of us, but that doesn't stop me wishing i was a moomin, or that i could just 'live in peace, plant potatoes and dream'.