Whilst we have many things to thank Sweden for, including the likes of ABBA and Ikea, the nation has also brought us many literary greats such as Pippi Longstocking and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. One set of familiar characters that may be lesser known for being Swedish-born are The Moomins.
First published in Swedish, The Moomins are a set of loveable characters created by Swedish-speaking Finnish author Tove Jansson. The story follows the cuddly round creatures through their adventures in Moomin valley.
The first book of the series, The Moomins and the Great Flood, (or in Swedish, Småtrollen och den Stora Översvämningen) depicts the Moomin adventures through Moominvalley, and two characters’ hunt for the lost Moominpappa. The word for Moomin in Swedish translates to English as little troll, giving a pretty good depiction of Jansson’s idea of how they should be seen. The adventures of the Moomins continued to be published in Swedish until 1954, when the first comic strip of their adventures became known.
Presented as graphic novels and as short extracts of prose, the Moomins are accessible for nearly every age group, and it’s not just in book form that the cuddly characters have resonated with the world. Combined with the Swedish edge for design, Moomins are seemingly taking the world by storm once more, with Moomin-inspired furniture, artwork and clothing popping up more and more frequently. They even had their own cartoon created in the early 90s, and a beautiful reprint of Tove Jansoon’s original comics can be readily found in good bookshops.
The tales themselves might not be set in Sweden, but the tales are thematically Scandinavian, and we know that children and adults love them world over. The Moomins are at their most basic a family, and they navigate through life in the most charming of ways – and that’s why we reckon they’re one of the best book series around!