________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 15 . . . . December 14, 2012


Moomin's Winter Follies.

Tove Jansson.
Montreal, PQ: Enfant/Drawn & Quarterly (Distributed by Raincoast Books), 2012.
48 pp., pbk., $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-77046-098-0.

Subject Heading:
Graphic novels.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Claire Perrin.

*** /4


This unique graphic novel is part of a series of books based on the Moomin family from a popular Finnish comic strip. The comic appeared daily in newspapers around the world for over 20 years, but was never published in Canada. Moomin's Winter Follies is one of seven Moomin books that are being released in Canada more than 60 years after their creation.

internal art      The Moomins are a family of hippo-like animals living in the North. In this adventure, young Moomin tries to go for a swim only to find that the pond has frozen over. Instead of hibernating, Papa Moomin decides to break from tradition by convincing his family to go out and explore winter. As they venture out, they encounter the evil Mr. Brisk, a tyrant who is organizing the Winter Games for all the creatures of the North. The Moomins try downhill skiing and skating but are not well suited for either sport. In despair, they wake their human friend, Mymble, to get some advice about how to escape Mr. Brisk. The story snowballs from one story line to the next: Mymble becomes infatuated with Mr. Brisk and tries to win his favour by learning how to ski. Mr. Brisk takes no notice of her at all, or of Mama Moomin who is also falling under his spell.

      The Winter Games are finally held, and Mr. Brisk is beaten at his own game by none other than Mymble. Desperately trying to console him, Mymble arranges a snowball fight between Edward the walrus and Mr. Brisk, a fight which they will let Mr. Brisk win. Infuriated that he didn't win legitimately, the evil tyrant challenges Edward to some more winter events. The plot continues to twist and evolve until finally Spring arrives and Mr. Brisk retreats. The Moomins resume their way of life, and the allure of Mr. Brisk quickly melts into the snowy landscape.

      A cast of quirky characters along with unusual and fast paced storylines will keep readers engaged. At times, it seemed that new storylines were cropping up before others had finished. New characters come onto scene and take the plot in a new direction so that the reader is never sure what to expect.

      Author/illustrator Jansson received much acclaim for her comic strips in Europe and enjoyed a huge following of loyal readers. The unique characters, drawings and plot are sure to entertain the 'tween audience.


Claire Perrin is a teacher with the Toronto District School Board.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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