Page 45 Review by Stephen
"I've suddenly realised my childhood's gone!"
"Oh, I wouldn't say that, dear..."
Tove's younger brother Lars takes over as Moominpappa and childhood friend Wimsy embark on a rose-tinted quest to reclaim their youth and turn into a couple of delinquents! First Moominpappa makes the mistake of revisiting the orphanage he once escaped and is sat down sternly to learn the algebra he missed. Then some spies enter the equation with a secret formula which is equal to or greater than their comprehension... so I do hope he paid close attention.
Before that Snorkmaiden learns to be careful what she wishes for when she and Moomin find a buried lamp and a less than genial genie obliges her desire for a diamond diadem by supplying a diamond necklace... which he'd stolen from a neighbour! Arrested and confined to the best-appointed police cell in the world (and the most accommodating: "I say, do you prefer strawberry or cranberry jam with pancakes?") they remain convinced that they're to be executed at dawn. There then follows the most haphazard interrogation and unorthodox trial imaginable, a stint on the lam and some truly cack-handed attempts at disguise.
It's all so beautifully done, Moominvalley and its denizens operating under a bemused innocence which is both endearing and potty, and only a finer eye than mind would be able to tell that the cartooning was Lars' rather than Tove's. In fact his tenure on the title was twice the length of his older sister's which is a testament to how well it was embraced.
Gorgeous, cream-coloured paper under a Fruit Salad-flavoured hardcover.