Moominpappa at Sea (Puffin Books) Paperback – 28 Mar 1974
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"There is, in short, everything in the Moon books: giant comets and secret caves and tree houses and stilts and magic-carpet clouds and amusement parks run by despotic practical-joking kings and time machines and ski instructors." -"Harper's ""We need Moominland for its gentle pace, its sense of beauty and awe, and its spirit of friendliness and empathy--now more than ever." -"The Horn Book ""These charming fantasies are propelled by a childlike curiosity and filled with quiet wisdom, appealing geniality, and a satisfying sense of self-discovery." -School Library Journal.com "If you had no shame reading "Harry Potter" on the subway, there's no need to hide Tove Jansson's witty, whimsically illustrated Finnish series." -Daily Candy "The Moomin books make for both splendid bedtime read-alouds and solitary savoring." -"Wall Street Journal" "It's more than forty years since Jansson's Moomintrolls first appeared. I found the writing and invention as appealing --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Tove Jansson, writer and illustrator, was born in Finland in 1914. She began her Moomin series in 1945 and they became a huge success with their individualistic characters, subtle humour, and an all-encompassing sense of freedom. The Moomins were, to some extent, a reflection of Tove Jansson's own family, who were bohemians and lived close to nature. Jansson became well known in England for her Moomins comic strip, published daily in London's Evening News between 1953-59, continued by her brother Lars Jansson from 1959-1975. Jansson also wrote adult fiction, short stories and memoirs, and was an award-winning artist. Tove Jansson died in 2001. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
It's not an especially happy book, however. You could even go so far as to describe it as a journey inside depression. This might come as a slight shock to readers of previous Finn Family Moomintroll books, since they are so suffused with a happy-go-lucky sense of life as an extraordinary adventure full of unexpected twists and turns.
Nonetheless, in this novel (the last of all the Moomin books), life for the Moomin family takes a turn for the worse. Moominpappa - ever an eccentric and wayward chap - autocratically decides to relocate his entire family to a lighthouse on a remote island. But the island turns out to be an extremely lonely place, and as a result, the Moomin family slowly drifts apart in strange ways.
It is a rare book - be it marketed at adults or children - which is able to convey so intangible a concept as depression without simplifying it. 'Moominpappa at sea', with its beautiful and haunting sense of place, is a novel about just that - being at sea. Yet Tove Jansson, with her imaginative and poetic grasp of emotional experience, somehow pulls it off.
This is ultimately what makes it an uplifting read rather than a sad one. For although the Moomin family don't have the best of times on their island, their sense of themselves is strengthened and reaffirmed. This powerful little novel similarly offers us the chance to appreciate how weird and wonderful our lives can be, whether they are happy ones or not.
At the centre of the story stands Moominpappa. He is overcome with boredom and restlessness, but doesn't know what to do about it. Finally, he moves his family out to a deserted, unwelcoming island with an unwelcoming lighthouse. Adopting the role of lighthouse keeper, Moominpappa tries to engage himself in his new life. Moominmamma silently dislikes her new home and dreams her way back to Moominvalley in her own way; Moomin becomes obsessed with the beautiful but vain sea horses that appear on the beach at moonlight; the irresponsible Little My watches everything as if from afar, seemingly unaffected by the whole thing, and finally the eerie Groke follows the family to the island, unbeknownst to most of them. The book is subtly divided between Moominpappa, Moominmamma and Moomin. Their new life on the island begins to do something to them, and they slowly drift apart and become absorbed in their own dreams and worries.
Nothing goes right; Moominpappa humiliatingly doesn't know how to light the lighthouse, so he tries new and new ways to be useful but faces nothing but failures, making him increasingly frustrated. The tiniest ray of hope makes him excited, ecstatic, even if the reader can tell that there may not be much basis for his excitement. His growing anger finally lashes out at the sea, which he identifies as the root of all his problems. Tove Jansson always had an extraordinary gift at making her characters face very human dilemmas.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very beautiful book, really well-written and illustrated. I bought it out of nostalgia, as I used to love the moomins as a child, and I have to say it is just as good to read as... Read morePublished 1 month ago by CEH
great condition and will look forward to reading this again as an adult!Published 4 months ago by deborah thomas
I'm in my fifth decade and this is my second reading, for me this time, not to my (now adult) children. Can't wait for grandchildren so I can see the wonder in their eyes. Read morePublished 4 months ago by HA
Mooomin books are wonderful. This one is only 4 stars because it's a little slow and complicated, and not as engaging as say "Finn Family Moomintroll" or "Moominsummer... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Geoff Teale