While I’ve had lots planned for Women In Translation Month for a while now, involving my little assistant wasn’t originally one of them. However, a little while back, when I tweeted about finishing Tove Jansson’s novel The True Deceiver, Olga said:
“I hope Emily participates in # 🙂 You can do a Tove Jansson double bill, for example.”
Which explains how we got to today’s post… 🙂
What’s the name of the book, and who is it by?
The book is called The Moomins and the Great Flood and it’s by Tove Jansson (and it’s translated by David McDuff).
What’s it about?
It’s about these white creatures with hippopotamus heads called Moomins who set out on an adventure to build a nice warm house. On the way, they meet lots of new friends and a few enemies. Then their adventure turns into a quest for Moominpappa, last seen wandering with the Hattifatteners!
Did you like it? Why (not)?
It was funny at some times and a bit old-fashioned, but I liked it (I especially liked it because my Mum read it to me!).
What was your favourite part?
My favourite part was when Tulippa saved the Moomins and the little creature from the swamp monster by using her shining blue hair 🙂
Was it difficult to read?
It was easy to read 🙂
Would you recommend this book to other boys and girls? Why (not)?
I’m not sure. I don’t know any kids that would like this book – it’s not really what kids in my class would read. The books we read are usually covered in sparkles and are about superheroes, fairies, princesses or mermaids 😉
Emily, thank you very much.
The Moomins and the Great Flood was Jansson’s first Moomins book, and in the short foreword here, she explains how the work sprang from her inability to pursue her real love (art) during the dark winter of 1939. The story then languished in a drawer until 1945 when she was persuaded to have it published, and the rest, as they say, is history 🙂
I read all of the Moomins books when I was (much) younger, but I’d forgotten what they were like. Skimming through this one, I quickly saw that it was a rather quirky tale, dark in places, a story which never really stops. Moominmamma, Moomintroll and the ‘creature’ keep on keeping on, meeting wonderfully bizarre folk along the way, always hoping to catch up with the absent Moominpappa at some point.
As noted above, Emily had this read to her by her Mum over a few nights before bed, and when I asked if she wanted to do a review, she decided (like the conscientious little reviewer she is) to go through it again by herself. The truth, though, is that she wasn’t really overly impressed with the book – I suspect that the appeal lay more in being read to…
Which is a shame as there’s a lot to like about The Moomins and the Great Flood. The writing (and McDuff’s translation) is excellent, and the edition we borrowed from the library (from Sort Of Books) is a lovely book, full of Jansson’s ink drawings. The story does race along, and that might be to its detriment – no sooner have the travellers encountered a new friend than they’ve rushed off into the darkness again. Also, as Emily mentioned, with competition from princesses and superheroes about, modern kids might not be too bothered about little white hippo-type creatures…
Still, I’m hopeful Emily will give the Moomins another go at some point as I believe the later books are a little more complex. Having said that, the next book in the series, Comet in Moominland, is one which gave me nightmares when I was a little boy. Perhaps we really should wait a little longer for our next trip to Moominland after all… 😉