Tales from Moominvalley is a delightful collection of short stories for kids and adults alike. Tove Jansson‘s imagination is boundlessly creative, yet at the same time grounded in human nature through the colorful imperfect characters which she portrays. What I enjoyed most about her tales is that she touches on the full breadth of the human emotional experience. She doesn’t only focus on positive emotions like happiness and joy, which so often are the dominant theme of books oriented towards children. Jansson also delves into everyday negative emotions like sorrow, loss, anxiety and loneliness. This is certainly reflected in my three favorite stories in Tales from Moominvalley, which are – The Fillyjonk Who Believes in Disasters, The Invisible Child and The Secret of the Hattifatteners. For me the themes explored in these tales are quite mature and adult, but are handled in an accessible manner that children can understand and easily relate. In The Secret of the Hattifatteners, for instance, the Hattifatteners are creatures who are isolated and outcast from the society, with many false and misleading rumors spread about them. Yet when Moominpapa accompanies them on a sojourn he learns that much of what he has heard about them is false and he realizes that they are not what they seem on the surface. What I also find admirable in Tales from Moominvalley is that not all of the stories end on a positive “happily ever after” note. Instead the main characters typically learn a lesson through an experience which builds their character in a small but positive way. Overall, in my view Janson’s stories are timeless and will surely entertain children and adults for many generations to come.
Have you read Tales from Moominvalley or any other of Tove Jansson’s books? What were your favorite stories? Please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below. Thanks for stopping by!