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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Where it all began., March 30, 2012
Tove Jansson, <strong>The Moomins and the Great Flood</strong> (Schildts, 1945)

I find it astounding that <em>The Moomins and the Great Flood</em>, the first tale in one of the most beloved series of kids' books in the entire world, has only ever been published in English once, in a small run, by a Finnish publisher. (As far as I know, the rest of the Moomin books have not been out of print in America in my lifetime.) Copies of it are quite dear on this side of the pond, so a Finnish friend took pity on me for Christmas last year, picked up a copy at the far more reasonable price one can find it in bookshops in Helsinki, and sent it winging across the sea to me.

It's a slim volume, it tells the tale of how the Moomin family came to inhabit Moominvalley, and that is pretty much all I should need to tell you if you are at all familiar with Jansson's moomin books. (And isn't everyone?) In every other respect, it is just as much a moomin book as any of the others, with that otherworldly fairytale quality and the raft of quirky, amusing characters and Jansson's wonderful little sketch-like drawings and weird little events creeping in round the edges of the plot and all the other things that make these books so downright delightful. It's worth cultivating European friends to get your hands on a copy, or pressuring Square Fish (who now seem to own printing rights to the series in North America) to do a domestic run of <em>The Moomins and the Great Flood</em> for the first time ever. Whatever you do, if you're a fan of the series, you want to get your hands on this. ****
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Strange, Evocative and Engaging, January 17, 2012
This is the first Moomin story, and it carries the residue of the disruption of the Second World War in the background. A great flood has unsettled everything, families are separated, there are dangers, and opportunities to meet new people and to help and be helped. I think the warmth of feeling the characters have for each other helps the children who read this build strength for the challenges they meet in their own lives. My five year old granddaughter really enjoyed reading it with me, and took the odd occurrences in stride, feeling the reality of the characters and identifying with their responses. As someone who read the Moomin stories as a young person (nine and ten years old), it is a pleasure to discover a 'new' story and to observe my granddaughter's delight in the characters and their adventures.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting, creative, emotionally resonant, July 30, 2013
By 
C. Frederick "bigswell" (St. Croix United States Virgin Islands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
I just finished reading this rather short (60 pages including many full-page illustrations) story to a five year old in one sitting, and we were both enthralled. HIGHLY recommended.

With her recurring Moomin characters, Jansson creates an amazingly realistic and unique emotional tone of childhood that is melancholic and comfortingly secure at the same time. Periodic frights and crises in her books are met with brave resolve both by loving, matter-of-fact Moominparents and Moominchildren who are self-assured but also well-mannered and thoughtful. There is a comparison to be made of the Babar series to the loving security of the Moomin family - but the Moomins are a bit more silly, and creative, and philosophical, more verbose, and much more sophisticated emotionally. Each of Jansson's characters displays some complexity and mystery; faults, follies, prejudices... I find it fun to talk about these nuances of character with my kiddo.

In the Moomins and the Great Flood, you'll encounter a boy and his mother who together face the search for a missing parent, a frightening swamp serpent, bad weather, near disasters in boats, grumpy birds, new friends, tummy aches, dark forests, a fairy creature, and a prescient Willy Wonka** character. All ends well.

There are many, many illustrations in this book. Nary a spread without at least one of Jansson's wonderful and simple line drawings. There are numerous plates with her greyscale wash paintings beautifully reproduced with multiple ink tones. The illustrations are slightly naive, a feature I enjoy in children's books as it is not intimidating for young artists. You can see where Jansson continued to evolve the physiology of her Moomins as the series went on.

This particular volume in the series is the very first Moomin book for children, and lacks the caustic tone and sass of her Moomin newspaper comic strips. There is a wonderful balance in her Moomin children's books, between action and feelings.

**Read on if you are a children's book nerd like myself!**

Having read the Moomin series in the 1970s, my seven-year-old self probably assumed at the time that it was new. In fact this particular, seminal volume in the series was started in 1939 and finished near the end of WWII. In this book Jansson, who was (in age) a contemporary of Roald Dahl, seems to invent the character Willy Wonka, describing with her delicate pen and ink/wash drawings a lonely gentleman in a top hat who has created a fanciful man-made edible universe with rivers of lemonade and sugar grass. Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was not published until the mid-1960s. Wow! I wonder if they ever communicated, or shared some other creative connection. Jansson's characters lack the unredeemable cynicism of some of Dahl's creations. The Moomins, after all, while very anthropomorphized, are still animals mostly interacting in the natural world, whereas Dahl's protagonists are usually woefully flawed human beings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Characters, Immersive Setting, Beguiling Illustrations, November 8, 2013
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What timeless and endearing creatures these Moomins are! My daughter and I both loved The Moomins and the Great Flood.

As an American who has cast a longing eye over the Atlantic since girlhood, I found this book delightfully "Euro." Perhaps only Europe-infatuated Americans can feel the weight of this term. What I mean is that the book is quirky, surprising, atmospheric and weird, in just the right ways. My American-ness seems so pragmatic and boring when juxtaposed with such splendid Euro-hood.

What really captured my imagination about The Moomins and the Great Flood is the book's wonderful quality of creating intriguing characters and landscapes that seem simultaneously sinister and safe, hostile yet inviting. I love when books do that to me, gently urge me to enter into their worlds, at my own peril, perhaps, or maybe for my own good.

And the pictures! They are so wonderful. All I wanted to do was put on some ambient, slightly dissonant music and stare at them. (Again, Euro.) Tove Jansson's artwork is beguiling, and there's pretty much an image on every page.

A beautiful book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, January 10, 2013
A Kid's Review
this book was really good I can't believe that nobody has rated it
thank you TOVE JANSSON everybody in the world should read it
great book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book., July 2, 2014
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
I love the books about the Moomins. Great imaginations and well thought characters. This book is definitely an interesting read for kids. Even though I am not a kid myself it was nice to dive into the imaginary world created by Tove Jansson.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fills-in some backstory, nicely., May 21, 2014
By 
DaChief "chief_55" (Longmont, CO United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
Not essential for Tove Jansson fans, but the backstory of how the house came to be in the valley; and the introduction of some favorite characters (Sniff, the Snorks, the Muskrat) is a nice addition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing quality, April 15, 2014
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
It arrived on time, and I do not regret buying this. The quality of the cover and pages is phenomenal, it's well worth the price. It's also a very nice story in its own rite, I'd recommend this to any parent looking for an imaginative, well-written book for their child.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As awesome as I remember!, March 29, 2014
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
I love the Moomins! The book arrived with one end of the packaging busted open, but no damage to the book at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great, February 7, 2014
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This review is from: Moomins and the Great Flood (Hardcover)
All the Moomintroll book are wonderful. If you have not read any of them yet, this is as good a place as any to begin. They are classics on level with Wind In the Willows.
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Moomins and the Great Flood
Moomins and the Great Flood by Tove Jansson (Hardcover - 2012)
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