Comet in Moominland
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Comet in Moominland

Tove Jansson, Hugh Dennis, Elizabeth Portch

The first Moomin novel by Tove Jansson. A comet is speeding towards Earth and nobody knows what to do! Will it destroy everything and everyone? Moomintroll decides to find out. So, with Sniff, he sets out on an expedition to ask the Professor if a comet is really on its way to destroy the Earth. On their journey they meet some interesting people - such as Snufkin the super tramp, and the Hemulen who rescuesthem from an underground tunnel - and have narrow escapes from such menaces as crocodiles and giant lizards. And on their way back Moomintroll meets the beautiful Snork Maiden and is a changed Moomin for ever after. But what about the comet - and is the World Wiped Out?… %%%A comet is speeding towards Earth and nobody knows what to do! Will it destroy everything and everyone? Moomintroll decides to find out. So, with Sniff, he sets out on an expedition that promises to be packed with adventure and excitement! %%%A comet is speeding towards Earth and nobody knows what to do! Will it destroy everything and everyone? Moomintroll decides to find out. So, with Sniff, he sets out on an expedition that promises to be packed with adventure and excitement!

Review

How I wish I had been introduced to these stories as a child, but unfortunately for me, they were not widely known in Australia in the 90s.

The Moomins are a lovely, whimsical family created by Tove Jansson (1914-2001), a Finnish author and illustrator of the country’s Swedish-speaking minority who produced numerous works for children and adults. Comet in Moominland is actually her second book about the Moomins, her first being The Moomins and the Great Flood, which was the last to be translated into English. Comet in Moominland serves well as the introductory book to these characters, however, as it presents the family and their friends afresh.

The story does, I suppose, deal with some darker issues, such as the comet that is fast approaching (and will destroy) the idyllic Moominvalley, where these happy creatures live. Rather than being bleak or depressing, though, these themes are handled with joviality and sweetness.

The creativity of these books is brilliant. They are as thrilling to me as an adult as I know they are to seven to 11-year-olds. I have even tried and tested them on a group of eight-year-olds while working as a counsellor at a summer camp in Canada. My campers would beg me every night to read them another chapter about Moomintroll and his family.


George Munn is a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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