Moomin books featured in Canadian Review of Materials

Moominvalley Turns Jungle

Canadian Review of Materials, Volume XIX Number 15    |    Natalie Schembri    |    December 14, 2012

Moominvalley Turns Jungle
Review by Natalie Schembri
**** /4

Drawn and Quarterly has commenced republishing Tove Jansson's Moomin comics, with a focus on individual stories. One of the first republished editions of the Finnish comics, Moominvalley Turns Jungle, is a charming story that is initiated one day in the withering summer heat as Moominmamma plants the tropical seeds that have been washed ashore on to Moominvalley.
Jansson invites readers to explore with the Moomin family the transformation from an exhaustingly hot and dry desert setting into a magnificent, yet curious, world of flora and fauna. Readers, and Moomins, amusingly discover orchids, bamboo, and carnivorous flora. Moominvalley becomes a surreal jungle of plant life that attracts the investigative work of an inquisitive botanist and a hopeful zoologist, as well as visits from various exotic animals that have been freed from the zoo. The panels of Moominvalley Turns Jungle are erupting in strange plants and creatures that have grown from the crate of tropical seeds and are waiting to be explored. Readers will delight over the sophisticated panels and pages of Moominvalley Turns Jungle.

Notably, this reprinted edition is whimsically illustrated in full-colour for the first time. The soft, yet colourful hues expressively highlight Jansson's sweet and quirky Moominvalley story.
Jansson's endearing comic strip continues to charm and entertain readers. I highly recommend this witty classic, Moominvalley Turns Jungle, for school and public library collections. The Moomin stories are humorous and delightful comics that the entire family will enjoy! I eagerly await the 2013 release of Moomin Builds a House and Moomin Falls in Love. In anticipation for the 2013 releases of more full-colour Moomin comics, I will further direct readers of Moominvalley Turns Jungle to the Tove and Lars Jansson classic hardcovers of Moomin, as well as the picture books, The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My and Who Will Comfort Toffle?.

Highly Recommended.

Moomin's Winter Follies
Review by Claire Perrin
*** /4

This unique graphic novel is part of a series of books based on the Moomin family from a popular Finnish comic strip. The comic appeared daily in newspapers around the world for over 20 years, but was never published in Canada. Moomin's Winter Follies is one of seven Moomin books that are being released in Canada more than 60 years after their creation.

The Moomins are a family of hippo-like animals living in the North. In this adventure, young Moomin tries to go for a swim only to find that the pond has frozen over. Instead of hibernating, Papa Moomin decides to break from tradition by convincing his family to go out and explore winter. As they venture out, they encounter the evil Mr. Brisk, a tyrant who is organizing the Winter Games for all the creatures of the North. The Moomins try downhill skiing and skating but are not well suited for either sport. In despair, they wake their human friend, Mymble, to get some advice about how to escape Mr. Brisk. The story snowballs from one story line to the next: Mymble becomes infatuated with Mr. Brisk and tries to win his favour by learning how to ski. Mr. Brisk takes no notice of her at all, or of Mama Moomin who is also falling under his spell.

The Winter Games are finally held, and Mr. Brisk is beaten at his own game by none other than Mymble. Desperately trying to console him, Mymble arranges a snowball fight between Edward the walrus and Mr. Brisk, a fight which they will let Mr. Brisk win. Infuriated that he didn't win legitimately, the evil tyrant challenges Edward to some more winter events. The plot continues to twist and evolve until finally Spring arrives and Mr. Brisk retreats. The Moomins resume their way of life, and the allure of Mr. Brisk quickly melts into the snowy landscape.

A cast of quirky characters along with unusual and fast paced storylines will keep readers engaged. At times, it seemed that new storylines were cropping up before others had finished. New characters come onto scene and take the plot in a new direction so that the reader is never sure what to expect.

Author/illustrator Jansson received much acclaim for her comic strips in Europe and enjoyed a huge following of loyal readers. The unique characters, drawings and plot are sure to entertain the 'tween audience.


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