Rereading: MOOMINSUMMER MADNESS by Tove Jansson

Art by Tove Jansson, image © her estate.

I’m rereading the Moomin books by Jansson in the order of publication. Last time I covered Moominpappa’s Memoirs from 1950. The next one was a picture book for younger readers, which I’ve already reviewed, The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My, a cleverly made story from 1952 with cutouts on each page that change the narrative as you turn the pages. The next full-length novel is this one from 1954.

A volcano near Moomin Valley erupts, causing an earthquake and a tidal wave that floods the valley, and soon the Moomins and their friends are forced up to the roof of their house. As they watch the world float by and exchange greetings with strangers floating on an uprooted tree, a large structure they don’t recognize floats up to their roof. It’s actually an outdoor theater shell, but they don’t realize that for some time. As the waters continue to rise, the Moomins decide to climb aboard the structure and take their chances in it. Behind the front curtains are all kinds of puzzling things: scenery, props, and a person who stays hidden but plays tricks on them. When the theatre rests against a tall tree, Moomin and the Snork Maiden decide to move into it with their new friend Misabel, but the theater floats away again in the night, leaving them stranded. The tree is close to other trees, and the three find their way from one to another to land, but there’s no sign of the theater.

Many more adventures follow, as Moomintroll and his friends get arrested, and once the theater is stranded on shore, a play is put on for the whole valley, who arrive in boats.

This is a charming book, like the others, and full of fine, funny characters and entertaining events. Tove’s drawings are excellent, too, as always.

Recommended.

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