One of the loveliest parts of my childhood was spending countless hours immersed in the Moomintroll (Swedish: Mumintroll) books written by Swedish-speaking Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson.
What was so lovely about the books was the way the very family-minded Moomins ended up including an idiosyncratically-eclectic group of other characters in their lives, accepting them warts and all, come what may.
For a boy struggling with daily teasing on an emotionally-destructive basis, the idea that there was a possibility of inclusion, of acceptance, even by fictitious characters, gave me hope that kind of warm open-heartedness would be reflected in the world I lived in.
The other thing that appealed to me though was how markedly different the Moomins and their friends and sort of adversaries like The Groke were to anything I’d read before in my hitherto very English-based literature.
Just how out of this world the Moomins are, for all their warm spirited bonhomie, has been brought beautifully to life by extraordinarily talented Swedish artist, Ingella Hallberg who has re-imagined the variously odd (in the best sense of the word) creatures of the Moomin universe in ways that bring out their otherworldliness to gloriously creepy effect.
There is something utterly arresting about these beautiful Moomin drawings which dovetail with Hallberg’s design philosophy of “[evoking] feelings of a strange world existing beyond the naked eye.”
It’s a whole new way of looking at Jansson’s much-loved magical creations and I’m excited how much they add to an already rich and wonderful imagined world.