Written and illustrated by Tove Jansson
I broke my Little My mug the other day, which is a shame. But I can easily replace it. And I still have my three Moomin T-shirts, my Moomin backpack, and my Moomin bank. Not to mention the stationery supplies. The point is that despite the relative (and totally undeserved) obscurity of the Moomin books themselves in the United States, there are plenty of Moomin-themed items available to anyone with an internet connection. This is probably because the Moomins are so popular in their native Finland (there’s a theme park!) and in Japan (there’s another theme park!). It’s also because the illustrations in the books are so endearing they can’t help but lend themselves to tea towels and umbrellas.
I was introduced to the Moomins when Steven V. did an oral report on Comet in Moominland in third grade. Steven V. may not know this, but he was an influencer way before it became a thing. He created at least one devoted Moomin fan that fateful day. Was it his obvious enthusiasm for the book that hooked me? He seemed pretty mellow, as I recall. But something he said sent me to the library looking for Comet in Moominland, and when I found it…Well. Let’s just say the book was one of a series, there was a map in the frontmatter, there were those adorable illustrations, and there wasn’t a human in sight. Bliss.
Steven V. has probably moved on to Pynchon and DeLillo since then, but I remain surrounded by Moomintroll, Sniff, Snufkin, and the gang. I’m thinking the theme parks might be a step too far for me, though. I’m not sure I could handle humans dressed as Moomins. And a full-size human Little My is just wrong. She fits inside a sewing basket, as any fan knows. But right now I have a mug to replace. And maybe a few matching plates and bowls to order as well.