Page 45 Review by Stephen
They call to me at the night, and through the early hours of the morning.
We've built quite the collection of MOOMIN at Page 45, including the very first illustrated prose book, THE MOOMINS AND THE GREAT FLOOD, so do please take a gander.
Childhood favourites, this restless, resourceful, hyper-inquisitive and highly inventive family of white, bulbous beauties - like bipedal, bleached cartoon hippos - may have reached their audiences first as comics, animation, or illustrated children's books. Most were charmed at first night, although I have heard a significant number of complaints (from young men only) that they were scarred for life by some creepiness they discerned. I blame the Japanese anime.
Anyway, later editions I attended to more thoroughly, but books one and two never got their full due so do so now.
Contains 'Moomin And The Brigands', Moomin and Family Life', 'Moomin on the Riviera' and 'Moomin's Desert Island'.
Moomin On The Riviera
"What a wonderful feeling to be poor... and listen to the rain on my little hut."
There speaks a very rich man!
"Of course it is romantic to play poor, but I don't like it when the roof leaks... and it is rather chilly sleeping under a boat at dawn."
Hmmm. That's the Marquis Mongaga in love with the idea of being bohemian and slumming it with the Moomins after they've had enough of high society and posh hotels, neither of which they understood. Nor could they comprehend why almost everywhere was marked "PRIVATE".
"I think picking flowers would soothe our nerves. It usually helps."
"This is a private wild meadow. Get off this property!"
"But who owns everything here, then?"
"People with money, of course!"
I think you'll find that 99% of the biggest Bajan houses are owned by 1% of Barbados' population and 99% of them will be white and only part-time residents.
Still, Snorkmaiden and Moominpappa did want to see The South (it really was that vague) and so they set sail to foreign climes with alien customs. They found it surprisingly easy to get a room at the snazziest hotel but they were under the impression it was a house and they were its private guests. Do you suppose that it all went horribly wrong?
Over and over again Tove Jansson in the form of right-minded Moominmamma extols the virtues of a modest life in MOOMIN. She finds the hotel room way too big for comfort so they retire to the bed instead and set up shop under its canopy.
I love the way she answers everyone about everything with "Yes, dear", reassuring all and sundry whilst sort of ignoring them.
Moomin's Desert Island
"Are they after us?" "I hope so!"
Everyone loves to be chased.
Thirty-five pages of in which our flailing family of unceasing optimists finds itself marooned on a desert island. They don't mind: in MOOMIN VOL 7 they actively set out to shipwreck themselves, and found it surprisingly difficult!
Moomin Mamma's immediate priority is to go foraging for food, carrying her handbag (as you do) and hunting a wild boar with her compact. I'm not even kidding you. She blows make-up powder up its nose and into its eyes, seasons it with salt (it's a well equipped handbag) then sets fire to the poor brute, shaggy coat and all.
However, Moomin Mamma isn't the only Moominmummy on the island. Plus Moomintroll discovers a message from The Mymble bobbing in a bottle on the sea.
"Help! I am the beautiful prisoner of the pirates on board the Black Shark!"
Beautiful? Uh-oh. Well, it wouldn't be MOOMIN if Moomintroll's missus, Snork Maiden, didn't sulk. It's so like Tove Jansson to be that random: Moominpappa, Moominmamma, Moomintroll and
Snork Maiden. Maybe Moomin's the name of the family, not the species - that's only just dawned on me!
The laugh-out-loud sequences involve the Professor who boarded the helicopter against his better judgement having forecasted a storm. A death-obsessed doom merchant, his umbrella was up before the first drop of rain and remains firmly aloft on each and every page until the, err, accident. It's an exquisite piece of timing when, after a dozen or so gloomy projections, the imminent disaster is left hanging in the air on the last panel of a page, just like the agent of destruction above the poor Professor's head. I don't think that umbrella will help much.