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Moominpappa at Sea (Puffin Books) Paperback – 28 Mar 1974

4.8 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Paperback, 28 Mar 1974
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; New edition edition (28 Mar. 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140306722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140306729
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.2 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 278,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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 "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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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
As has been said below, Moominpappa at Sea (MAS), along with Moominvalley in November (MIN), represent the height of Jansson's achievements in the Moomin series. They also, of course, conclude it. While all the novels are unique and oddly unsettling, these last two installments are almost existential, poetic, almost saga like. I should explain that I read all of the Moomin books in the 1970s, and have - in my own middle aged crisis perhaps - returned to them. At the age of 14 I felt about MAS and MIN very much what I feel now - only the language of comparison has changed. Now in my late 40s, it is Moominpappa and oddly the fisherman/lighthouse keeper that I identify with most, not so much Moomintroll - and I am filled with new admiration for the mystery of Little My. When I first read this I could not understand why they left their valley, how they knew where the island was, or what had happened to the lighthouse keeper. Now I know. I also know what happened to the Groke, who Jansson, in her deep humility, finally saves, like Prospero saving Caliban. MIN occupies the same temporal frame of this novel, depicting what is going on `back home' - and it is all written in the same minimalist, insightful way. At onelevel the characters are oddly dysfunctional and lost, at another, they are sublimely knit into a world of nature and light. I am relieved to think that much of this magic touched me when I was 14, but how strong it has grown over the years! There is something almost numinous here. I urge you to read these two together, and then to find and enjoy the earlier and more carefree installments, especially Moominsummer Madness, Moominvalley in November and Tales.
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Format: Paperback
Most avid readers of 'children's books' know that the entire category can be a bit of a misnomer, and this is especially true of 'Moominpappa at Sea'. In its own subtle way, this novel is a challenge to conventional ideas about children and childhood.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having always been drawn particularly to Moominpappa of the Moomins, this book excited me. Now it's one of those books I pick up when I feel like reflecting on things. The Swedish title "Pappan och havet" ("The Pappa and the Sea") fits the story better. It is a thoughtful, moving story about a lost soul desperate to feel alive again.

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.
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