Moominpappa at Sea

I came across this book at one of my favorite bookstores in Philadelphia, or anywhere for that matter, The Spiral Bookcase. I strongly encourage all of you to like them on Facebook and to take time to go vist them in person if you are ever in Philly.

My copy of this book smells of old, used, and damp vanilla air freshener. The pages are over dry and the binding is falling apart so I was careful while I read it.

I have been meaning to dig into the Moomin series for a while now and when I found this book in the dollar bin at The Spiral Bookcase I knew it was the perfect time. Moominpappa at Sea is one of the more philosophical books of the internationally best selling Tove Jansson (We have the same birthday!!!) series. I would compare it to reading The Little Prince byAntoine de Saint-Exupéry. You know you are technically reading children’s literature but the book is rife with deep emotional family issues and interesting characters who each seem to represent some part of the human psyche. There is more than a simple tale of a troll family struggling to build a new life on an odd and desolate island. 

In the beginning of the story Moominpappa decides to move his entire family to an island far out at sea so that he can take care of them and protect them. It seems Moominpappa is not feeling very useful and necessary so he creates this adventure for his family. One of the more striking quotes from the book comes from Moominmamma just as the family is about to set off and leave behind their cozy home. “It’s strange,’ Moominmamma thought. ‘Strange that people can be sad, and even angry because life is to easy. But that’s the way it is, I suppose. The only thing to do is to start life fresh.'” 

There are comic moments, a mystery, and a few surprisingly chilling turns in this story. A quick read and a journey I do not believe you will  regret taking. A little digging tells me that the rest of the Moomin series is not so philosophical- but you better believe I will be checking them out soon!

I would recommend this book for adults who want some reading that will inspire some deep thinking with lovely black and white illustrations of adorable trolls as a palette cleanser.

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The Man in The Moon

The Man in the Moon by William Joyce is the debut book in his series: The Guardians of Childhood. Joyce has several other children’s books (Santa Calls and George Shrinks) in print. He also worked on the Toy Story films.

I was so thrilled when I saw the scholastic box arrive in the office this afternoon I think I scared the UPS man. It took all I had not to tear the box from his hands. I have been eagerly awaiting Joyce’s book for a week and half- the smell and the story did not disappoint.

My copy of the book smells like a chain bookstore-clean, freshly inked pages.

The Man in the Moon is a thrilling story that tells the tale of the, you guessed it, Man in the Moon. MiM (Man in Moon), as he is nicknamed by his childhood guardian Nightlight, is a happy baby when the story begins. He sails through galaxies with his parents on a ship called the Moon Clipper. The Moon Clipper is designed to transform into a moon each evening and Joyce’s illustrations of the transformation are a delight.

Nightlight never sleeps and watches over MiM each evening. Nightlight sprinkles Dreamsand over MiM so he never has  nightmares. When Pitch, the King of Nightmares, hears about this he sets out on a planet and star destroying mission to find MiM,capture him, and make him a prince of nightmares. MiM’s family flees for a small green and blue planet (sound familiar?) in a far galaxy. The planet has no moon and so it seems like the perfect place for the Moon Clipper to transform and hide.

When Pitch and his ship, The Nightmare Galleon, catches up with MiM’s family an epic battle ensues. Children and adults alike will be swept up in the valiant efforts made by the good characters aboard the Moon Clipper.

When the dust settles MiM is alone except for a few surviving Moonbots, Moonmice,and Glowworms. Though his parents and Nightlight are gone his childhood on the moon is a fantasy brought to life by Joyce’s sweet,quick prose and decadent illustrations. ( You will fall in LOVE with his Glowworms and Lunar Moths)

When MiM grows into a man he finds way to help the children of earth. He assembles a familiar cast of beloved characters from the far corners of earth to become the guardians of childhood. I won’t give away more but I will say that the end of the book is lovely and simply magical.

I am EAGERLY awaiting more books from the series. A wonderful gift for a friend with a child who is young enough to still believe in magic all around.