Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Jansson, Tove "Moominsummer Madness"

Jansson, Tove "Moominsummer Madness" (Finnish: Vaarallinen juhannus) - 1954

I hadn't read anything about the "Moomins" but I'd heard about them and seen their pictures everywhere. They're cute. I can only explain my ignorance of the books by the fact that we spent most of our sons' childhoods in England where they were not as popular as elsewhere.

So, I never read the "Moomins" as a child nor did I read them while my children were little. I suppose my perspective would have been a little different.

I read it with my online book club, all of us grown-ups, some of us with little kids, others with no kids or grown-up kids, like me. And a large number of Finnish members which is why this book was chosen, I guess. I quite liked it though I think I would have enjoyed it more if I'd read it with a child. Or maybe if I'd read the first book first. This was number 5 and the author assumed we know who is who and, even more important, what is what. So, the Moomins belong to the trolls, then there are mymbles, hemuls, fillyjonks, and a rat.

The Moomins live in a house in Moomin valley. When a volcano erupts, the valley is flooded and the Moomins have to seek shelter elsewhere. They find a theatre that they don't recognize as such since they've never seen or heard of one before but in the end they even present a play, even if somewhat haphazardly.

There is plenty of depth in the story, though, to be enjoyed by adults, as well. The characters may be eccentric but they seem to be just as "normal" as us human beings. Good writing and good psychology. The story is easy to follow yet not boring.

This was our book club read in March 2021.

Some thoughts by the members:

  • I felt the book really uplifted my spirit, while we are living isolated from travel and much wild adventures.
  • Some of the author's special ideals and characteristics came out well in the story, too, I think. 
  • And the ending was hilarious with the totally ruined theatre.
  • I found it very philosophical, positive, and quirky. 

From the back cover:

"When a flood sweeps through the valley, the Moomins must find a new house. And with typical Moomin good luck, one just happens to be floating by. It looks normal enough, but there are curtains where one wall should be, strange rows of lights, and other odd amenities. Then Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden disappear, and the family realize that the house may hold the answers to more than they ever dreamed."


  1. Some years ago there was quite a bit of wordage about these books and the author. That might have been in 2001 when Tove Jansson passed away. She seemed to have the love of many fans but I never went so far as to read any of her books. The Moomins is such a funny name.

    1. That might have been the reason. I have always heard about them, they are pretty famous in Germany but came out at the wrong time for me, I guess.

      Yes, the Moomins is a funny name and they are funny stories. And cute figures.

  2. Sounds like cool classics for children I should visit. Thanks for presenting them

    1. You're welcome. I don't often review children's books anymore since I have posted about most of the ones I remember from the time I read with my kids. But since this was a book club book and a new one to me, of course, I wanted to let everyone know. I also like to hear about children's books I haven't heard of before.

      I hope you can use it somewhere.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. This sounds positively magical! Eleanor would love this series, I think.

    1. I'm pretty sure she would, Sarah. And at the same time, you can introduce her to Finland. Two birds with one stone.


    2. I am going to poke around on Amazon and Abe Books and the Book Depository to see if I can find them! And 'visiting' other countries is always a bonus.

    3. That was always my thinking, as well. There must be lots of used copies around. Good luck.