the Moomin books created a children’s fantasy in tune with the postwar world

289da5e0-7f09-11e3-8642-00144feabdc0James Lovegrove at The Financial Times:

In autumn 1945, as an exhausted Europe emerged from almost six years of war, young Finns and Swedes were introduced to a family they would come to know very well. Tove Jansson’s first book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, follows Moominmamma and her son Moomintroll in their search for Moominpappa, who is lost, feared dead. They travel through a dark forest, drawn beautifully by Jansson in pen and tinted wash, using a primitivist style reminiscent of Henri Rousseau. Near the end of their quest, the weather turns strange: “It had become very hot late in the afternoon. Everywhere the plants drooped, and the sun shone down with a creepy red light.” This presages a rainstorm so powerful that the land is submerged. Moominpappa is eventually discovered alive and well, perched high above the waters in the branches of a tree.

The Great Flood was not a commercial success and attracted little attention – which perhaps explains why it was the last of the Moomin books to be translated into English, in 2005. It was only when the third volume in the series, Finn Family Moomintroll, came out three years later in 1948 that the Moomins begin their ascent to international fame.

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