i got this wonderful book from connor for my birrrtthhddaaayyy!!!
and it is yet another book that is beautiful enough that even had its contents been crappy, i would still love just to hold it and heft it and appreciate the texture and weight of it. it is from a small publisher whose motto is “publish few but wonderful books.”
see for yourself:
this is the first ever moomin book, published in 1945. it was out of print for forever, then reprinted in 1991, and then re-reprinted in 2012. and now i has it.
the story itself is meandering and simple and dreamlike, but coupled with these amazing illustrations, it is hard not to love it like candy:
i love the way the moomin characters look in this book—they are just rough sketches of what would later evolve into the more round and sweet and familiar moomins of the later books.
throughout the book, the artwork is split between very simple line drawings:
to these amazing sepia watercolors:
the story takes the shape of a journey by moominmamma and baby moomintroll to find where moominpappa, last seen in the company of the hattifatteners, has gotten himself off to. along the way, they meet other characters who will later become moomin “regulars” and moomintroll will eat too much candy in a sort of willy wonka-type wonderland.
also, there will be cats:
it’s just a wonderful, magical book in which all the moominroots can be seen and it is charming and sweet but also very dark, as all the best children’s books are.
this is my favorite drawing on the book, because of how simple and delicate and and innocent and evocative it is. this, to me, is just lovely.
if you have never read a moomin book, change that now. they are perfect little jewels of creatures and everyone should have them in their hearts. whe!
tove jansson and friends: