- Type: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- ISBN: none
- ASIN: none
- Edition Language: English
The Moomin series has always been remarkable not only for its charm and whimsy, but also for its sense of melancholy, unusual in childrens literature. Moominpappa at Sea is a particularly introspective installment; here you will find no heroic battles or overwhelming drama, just one familys quiet journey of self-discovery when they move to a mysterious island.
And an island is the perfect setting for this story, for the characters become more and more insular as they explore their new environs. Its a story about becoming independent; about bringing order out of chaos; about creating the world you want to live in, and sometimes about what happens when you cant. Moominpappa at Sea is also probably the only childrens book youll ever read that centers on a midlife crisis.
The story begins with Moominpappa not feeling needed around his home in Moominvalley, so he decides to pick up his family and move to an island he has only seen on the map. The island is no tropical paradise--it actually sounds quite imposing, looming over the Moomins at first sight like a giant shadow--but holds mysteries aplenty for the whole family: Moominpappa and Moominmamma; Moomintroll and Little My.
There is the old abandoned lighthouse, and the antisocial fisherman who lives on the opposite side of the island. There are the trees that seem so frightened they move of their own accord and a threat from home, the mournful Groke, who freezes everything in her path.The Moomins are imaginary creatures, who dont have jobs or schedules to follow, yet it is amazingly easy to relate to their experiences, particularly in this novel.
In fact, Moominpappas crisis stems from the fact he has nothing to keep him occupied, a familiar problem these days, though in his case it is not due to being retired or unemployed. Moomintroll, in earlier books in the series, has seemed about eight or nine, but now hes dealing with the problems of an adolescent, including the struggle to be independent and an obsession with sea horses (they are actual, tiny horses in this book) that borders on an early crush.
In fact, he is starting to see the world as more than black and white, as he comes to understand the threatening but not really evil Groke. Our little Moomintroll is growing up! My, on the other hand, is just as we need her to be; irrepressible and just a little bit wicked, often adding a touch of humor just when things get dark.As you might have guessed, Ive never been one to feel childrens books couldnt be enjoyed outside their intended demographic.
However, I feel that Moominpappa at Sea should be particularly appreciated by adults, while maintaining the sense of wonder that has made these books beloved by generations of kids.