Tuesday, April 26, 2016


I bought a basket at Goodwill the other day.  I thought I took a pic of the outside, but it seems that I did not.  Oh well.  You'll just have to imagine it.  It should not be too hard:  small, rectangular, varnished wicker, faux leather straps, hinged lid with one of those clasp thingies.  You know the type.

The real surprise came when I opened it up.



What's a Moomin?  Well, one of these little critters.


Cute, huh?

While not that well known in the United States, The Moomin Family has been a favorite for decades in Europe, especially Finland, their country of origin.  Their adventures have been translated into many different languages, including English.
The main characters are the Moominmamma, Moominpappa, and the Moomintroll, their son.  There are many other characters as well, including the Snork Maiden, my favorite.

Alt text
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39393132
Moominmamma is on the far right.  You can see her wearing the same striped apron as on the basket.

Created by artist/author Tove Jansson in 1945, the Moomins began first as a series of kid's books, then a newspaper comic strip, and finally animation.

Personally, I adore the Moomin family.  The art style is simple and uncomplicated, yet rich and detailed.  It reminds me in places of the work of famed New Yorker artist James Thurber, especially in the design of the Moomins themselves.  The stories are wonderful fantasy tales where just about anything can happen.  The characters are just delightful!

By Comic book cover, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1724575
There are English editions of the books, a couple of which I have.  They're fairly easy to find, and I recommend them as an introduction to the Moominworld.  A few years ago, one of my favorite comic publishers released several volumes of the comic in English.  I have one of them and would dearly love to get my hands on the others. There was also an English dub of the animation.  I have never seen it and would really love to.  Maybe a set will turn up at a flea market somewhere.  You never know.  I think I know what my next YouTube search will be.

One of the true joys of junking is the total unpredictability of the finds that you stumble across.  I would have given that basket a total pass, if I hadn't opened it up.  The unexpected surprises make the ups and downs of the re-selling field all worth while.

As far as I know, there really hasn't been that much Moomin merchandising in this country, so where did the basket come from?  Who bought it originally?  Was it a gift?  Had they been traveling?  I wonder if it held any Moomin-related contents? What is the story here?

It could even be as simple as someone ordering the basket online. You never really do get the whole story behind the things you find, but I do love it when I find something that taps into the odd store of knowledge that lives in my head.


Linda @ A La Carte said...

Moomins, who knew! Cute and interesting facts. I love finding treasures like that!

The Queen of Fifty Cents said...

I think the books were in every children's library I ever worked in, though not many kids checked them out. I know you would have! Aren't those names wonderful to say out loud? Moooominmmmaaaaamaaaa...

Donna Wilkes said...

I never knew a Moomin until today. I would have passed that right by. Love the history behind the characters.