Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson

moominpappa at seaMoominpappa’s family is extraordinary. They are consisting of standard family members: parents and two children (one boy one girl), but all of them have a different personality. Moominpappa is the leader of the family and has the most authorotive tone. He likes to be on the lead of all of things, and make responsibility as his first priority. Moominmama is the gentle one of the family. She likes to paint and can blend herself with her paintings. She loves to garden and will work really hard to achieve a dream garden.

Moomintroll is the mysterious and lonely son of the Moomin family. He is the most introvet family member. He is inquistive and loves to try and find out new stuffs, like the sea horse shoes and the lonely Groke. Little My is the little girl. I think she is probably adopted as she doesn’t look like the rest of the family. She is smart and has a tomboyish attitude. The whole family together, has a cheerful attitude. They talk to each other on their sadness, happiness, ideas, inspirations and facts. The characters are surprisingly complex and plausible.

This story’s title is a loose reference by the story of Hemingway’s The Old Man And the Sea. The original title is in Sweddish, Pappan Och Havet, literally means the father and the sea. Moonminpappa At Sea is the seventh book in the Moomin series, published in 1965.

At the start of the book, they have a map on their wall, a dot on which marks an island (or perhaps, Little My suggests, some fly-dirt) with a lighthouse. Moominpappa decides that the family will move there. After a wet and windy journey across the sea, they arrive on the deserted island and head towards the lighthouse. Everything is not quite as they hoped. The beam of the lighthouse doesn’t work, there is no soil for Moominmamma’s garden, and worst of all the previous keeper does not seem to be there anymore. The lighthouse is locked and finally Moominpappa finds the key. Then, he becomes the light house keeper.

From there, it all gets a bit surreal.  They followed by the Groke – a curious creature which fills them with fear and turns the ground to ice – the island itself seems to be alive. The trees move, the sea itself has a definite, often petulant, character. The Moomins take this in their stride – they almost seem to expect it. I think the Groke symbolized the sadness and unhappiness while the sea horses represents the energy of Moomintroll’s friends. The Groke wants only one thing in the world that will please his lonely days. She wants some light. Moomintroll gives some light to the Groke to please her. After that, the Groke grows attached to Moomintroll.

Tove Jansson was Swedish speaking novelist and had won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal (one of the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books) in 1966. She created the extraordinary world of the Moomins. She died aged 86, in June 2001. The Moomin Museum in Tampere displays much of Jansson’s work on the Moomins. There is also a Moomin theme park named Moomin World in Naantali, Finland.


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