Grattis, Tove! (It's Tove Jansson's 101 year birthday today)

A few days ago I discovered a folder of notes and images I meant to blog about, exactly a year ago. I somehow missed the date last year, but I won't neglect to pay tribute to one of my literary heroes on her birthday - and since it is Tove Jansson (1914-2001), mother and creator of the Moomin Troll, among many other things, perhaps it is not at all odd to celebrate her 101st (instead of her 100th!).

To those of you, who only know vaguely of the Moomins, as quirky, animated characters from children's shows - as I did in my own childhood - she is a wonderful acquaintance to make as an adult, as well. She was an incredible artist, especially graphic artist, but she also painted and drew other things than sweet, melancholy trolls. She was a great writer, for both children and adults, and a kind of philosopher in her own right.

If you want to explore the non-Moomin side of her writing, I warmly recommend 'The Summer Book'.

Not so many years ago, I knew only of her wonderful children's book 'The book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My' (beside, of course, the images of the Moomin trolls, printed everywhere on mugs and t-shirts and the like). That book, from 1952, somehow remained in print in Denmark, while the rest of her work didn't, and I had marvelled at it's strong and unforgettable images, it's fantastic use of color (and cut-outs!) and really powerful graphic detail, many times.

(It is even turned into a wonderful app - and there are other digital activities, read more here!)

Here's an example - an excerpt of one of the pages:

Having enjoyed that book so much, as a work of art and poetry, I decided spontaneously to start reading her work, and get to know her better. I read Swedish, and started collecting her Moomin books in their original language instead (Tove Jansson was a Swedish-speaking Finn and wrote in Swedish), and one summer I practically lived in Moomin Valley.

The novels about the life in Moomin Valley are infinitely readable for adults (and for children from, I would say, around 7 years and up). Here is a list of the titles.

I still haven't finished reading every one of of the Moomin novels (which are now on my book shelf, all of them!) but I sometimes read a chapter or two, or an entire novel. I love their strange and beautiful mixture of really weird (but all so human*) creatures, their sweetness, sadness and complete unpredictability.

I think these guys will follow me for the rest of my days. So grattis (= congratulations in Swedish), Tove Jansson. here she is, drawn by herself, surrounded by some of her creations.

 *And yes, they do feel so human, her fanciful characters. And they are, of course. Have you discovered what kind of Moomin character you are? (here is a great wikipedia list, in Swedish)

I have known for years. I am a Filifjonke, or a Fillyjonk, whether I like it or not.
With a touch of Mymlen (Mymble), perhaps?

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