Classic Graphic: The Moomin stories

moomin_history_tove_jansson-cfb36ad907e5b10ec440f2105589c600                               pee-hoo

Today is the birthday of Finnish author, artist and cartoonist Tove Marika Jansson. Tove was born in Helsinki on 9 August 1914 and died on 27 June 2001 at the age of 86.

Tove Jansson was a member of the Swedish speaking minority in Finland. She was raised by bohemian artist parents, who encouraged a love of nature and an appreciation of diversity in their children. Tove studied art in Helsinki, Stockholm and Paris. Her siblings also grew up to become artists.

Tove Janson is the most widely read Finnish author outside her own country. Shemoomin_by_marzymarrs-d8wj23y received wide recognition for her short stories, novels, picture books, plays and a comic strip. Tove also exhibited paintings and graphic art and was commissioned to create public art works. Although Tove wrote for both children and adults, she is best known and loved for her Moomin stories.

230px-Finn_FamilyIn 1945 Söderström & Co published Tove’s first Moomin story The Moomins and the Great Flood in Swedish. This was followed by Comet In Moominland in 1946 and Finn Family Moomintroll or The Magician’s Hat in 1948.

Tove continued writing about the adventures of the Moomin family throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966 the International Board on Books for Young People awarded Tove the Hans Christian Andersen award, which is the highest accolade that can be given to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.

Following the translation into English of her books Tove was approached by a British publisher to transform her Moomin stories in a comic strip format. In 1954, the famous London newspaper The Evening News started to publish it. In order to allow his sister more time for her visual art projects, Tove’s brother Lars Jansson took over drawing the comic strip from 1960.  It ran up until 1974.

In 1970, Tove ceased writing Moomin stories with the publication of her ninth and last Moomin book Moominvalley in November. She later published a somewhat eerie children’s picture book called The Dangerous Journey in 1977, which is about different characters but takes place in the world of Moominvalley.

Tove went on to write an acclaimed novel for adults, which focuses on the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother who are living on an island. The Summer Book (1972) is her best known work of fiction which has been translated into English. Throughout her life, Tove produced six novels and five books of short stories for an adult audience.

Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories have been adapted for film, the stage, television series, an opera and a theme park. Her books have been translated into several languages.

You can reserve books about Tove Jansson’s life through the One Card Network online. Visit the official Tove Jansson website at http://tovejansson.com/

_________________________________________________________________

CharactersA friend asked me to post about Tove Jansson, so I decided to explore the world of the Moomins, to discover why both children and adults are still captivated by them.

So you may ask, what exactly is a Moomin? Are they really trolls?

Fear not, the Moomins are not your average ugly, stupid trolls lurking in the mountains or under bridges, lying in wait to catch their next meal. The Moomins are cute, kindly fairytale characters who are plump and white and resemble hippopotamuses! They are intelligent, literate and make their home in a tower in Mooninvalley, living alongside a host of eccentric characters.

Tove’s stories are full of lighthearted humour. Her simple and colourful ‘retro’ style illustrations will appeal to children. She cleverly parodies many different concepts in her Moomin stories, from becoming famous, vanity, the theatre, the legal profession to buying unnecessary modern kitchen gadgets.

Young Moomin or Moomintroll, as he is known in the original Swedish version, is a sweet-natured, brave and somewhat naïve character, making his way in the world. Moomin lives with his close knit family, his mother Moominmamma, father Moominpappa and girlfriend Snorkmaiden.

Moomin familyThe Moomin family is always ready to embrace new experiences, meet new people and welcome them into their home.

Moonminpappa enjoys reading and philosophising. Moominpappa’s romantic view of himself leads to all sorts of grand plans such as moving his family to a lighthouse so he can write a grand novel. The more practical Moominmamma takes pride in her home and loves her garden. She prefers to live simply but comfortably.

Moominmamma is skilled at making others know that they may not have made the best decisions, without making her family feel bad about themselves. Her serenity helps us to realise that everything will eventually turn out okay. However, Moominmamma is not immune from falling into the trap of keeping up appearances and competing with her neighbour Mrs Fillyjonk!

Pretty Snorkmaiden is a dreamer. She and Moomin are devoted to each other.  However, she can be insecure, overly concerned with her Snorkmaidenappearance and with getting Moomin’s attention. The adopted Little My causes chaos in the Moonmin household but she is perceptive and brings other characters down to earth with her sharp observations.

Tove Jansson’s work is original and surrealOn their numerous adventures, many of the characters that The Moomin family encounters are of indeterminate species. For example, at first glance Too-Ticky appears to be human, until you notice her strange birdlike feet. The fearless Little My is so small she can fit incharacter_mymble_familyto the pocket of her half-brother Snufkin. She looks remarkably like her mother, older sister Mymble and her seventeen younger siblings. A ghost who haunts a lighthouse resembles a sausage with legs!

The Moomin books teach us about the importance of family and friendship and about accepting others for their uniqueness. They value living a simple life, staying close to the beauty of nature and just being happy. The Moomins are always ready to help other characters, as everyone is important and needs a purpose.

You can borrow the Moomin stories and graphic novels (which comprise episodes from the Moomin comic strip) across the One Card Network. Tove Jansson’s work has also been adapted to bring her characters to younger readers, through a series of new picture books. Search the catalogue online, or enquire next time you visit the Library. Why not also visit the official Moomin site: https://www.moomin.com/en/

And yes, I could be hooked.

Our Slouch Hat Soldiers on show

Brothers in Arms

They served the same cause,

Fresh-faced boys departed,a new breed of diggers returned,

toughened by violent events.

They knew what was expected of them,

battle savvy,

they backed each other,

fought off insanity with humour,

got the jobs done.

 

They witnessed events

no one should see,

did things they’d rather not talk of,

fought battles

long after they had ended.

And in this chasm of hell

A special breed of mateship grew.

Second World War 1939 – 1945.  Robert John Jarrad, Page 47, Slouch Hat Soldiers Generations at War, an Echoes Downunder publication, 2014.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

Robert John Jarrad speaks about his poety at the Tea Tree Gully Library.

When local retired engineer, military gunner, artist, didgeridoo player and writer Robert John Jarrad launched his first book of poems Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War at the Tea Tree Gully Library in March 2014, there was standing room only.

Accompanied by illustrations from by internationally acclaimed military artist Barry Spicer, Robert’s collection of poignant war poetry focuses on Australians who enlisted when their country called.  Robert based his poems mainly on the powerful stories and images told to him by his nineteen relatives – including his father and grandfathers – who had enlisted and served in World Wars I and II, and in the Vietnam War. As we hear in his poem Brothers in Arms, Robert’s poems give us an insight into the harsh realities of war, but he also describes the mateship between soldiers and how they used humour to cope with their dire situation.

Robert hopes reading his poems may help a new generation of Australians to understand what it was like to go to war and how those who served were prepared to give their lives for their homeland that they loved. Moreover, they came back forever changed by their experiences.

Since the launch of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, Robert Jarrad has toured around Australia, speaking to community groups about his book. He has been invited to several Centenary of Anzac events. In 2015, Robert’s poems, selected from his book Slouch Hat Soldiers-Generations at War, were performed at the Australian War Memorial’s ‘Of Words and War’ Anzac Centenary poetry event.

Now Robert’s literary achievement has been honoured once again. Some of his poems will feature prominently in the upcoming Wish me luck – an Anzac Centenary photographic exhibition, which pays tribute to South Australia’s World War II veterans. The exhibition is showing from 9 July to 11 September, in the Flinders University City Gallery, located within the State Library of South Australia on North Terrace.

Vale Clifford Brice

‘Poster boy’ for the Wish Me Luck exhibition, Vale Clifford (Cliff) Bryce sits aside his portrait.

Curated by Sharon Cleary (Veterans SA) and Louise Bagger (AIPP), the Wish me luck Exhibition has grown out a special nationwide project, which began on Anzac Day 2015. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) photographed Australia’s surviving World War II veterans, many of whom are now in their late nineties.  In South Australia 1050 portraits were taken over a seven month period.

Veterans SA is partnering with AIPP, Flinders University Art Museum and Atkins Photo Lab to present 100 photographic portraits of those who served in the Navy, Army, Airforce and Medical Corps from SA during WWII. Entry is free.  The Flinders University City Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 11am – 4pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12 – 4pm.

A series of public talks will accompany the ‘Wish me luck’ exhibition.  Come and hear Robert reading from Slouch Hat Soldiers on Sunday 4 September at 2.00pm at the Flinders University City Gallery.   RSVP essential to 08 8207 7055. Copies of Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War, will be available for sale.  Part proceeds of all book sales will benefit Legacy.

Bob Jarrad Wish Slouch Hat SoldiersYou can also borrow Slouch Hat Soldiers – Generations at War through the One Card Network. Search the online catalogue or enquire next time you visit the Library.

Discover more about Robert Jarrad and his acclaimed book Slouch Hat Soldiers.  You can also explore the 100 Years of Anzac website.  Read more about the Wish me luck exhibition and Robert’s poetry reading.

All about Roald Dahl and The BFG

Work experience student Verona is an avid reader and has always loved the stories of children’s writer, Roald Dahl. In this blog post, she shares her travel tale, when she and her son visited the Roald Dahl Museum in England.

Who has seen the new movie The BFG? I haven’t yet but it’s high up on my list of things to do. When my son was little (he’s 13 now so I’m not allowed to call him little anymore) he loved reading Roald Dahl’s books. He has read every one of his children’s books. We started off reading them together and then as he got older he read them by himself. It renewed my love for his stories. We even got to visit the Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre on a family trip to England.

The Story Centre is in a town called Great Missenden and it is where Roald Dahl lived for years and wrote many of his stories.

BFG

This is a picture of the outside of the Story Centre.

Roald Dahl

Inside the Story Centre there is a replica of the chair that Roald Dahl sat in to write all of his books.

It was here that my son got his copy of The BFG. The BFG, like many of Roald Dahl’s children’s stories is darkly comic and includes ‘gross topics’ that were often not written about. They include offbeat and imaginary characters. Roald Dahl often portrays the adults in his stories as cruel and the language he uses can border on inappropriate and this often appeals to children. You might then be wondering about the suitability of his books for your younger children. I would recommend starting with some of his lighter books such as The Enormous Crocodile or Fantastic Mr Fox and reading them together with your child but with anything, you as a parent have the best idea of what they will find amusing and what they will find too scary or dark to read.

With the movie The BFG in cinemas at the moment, now is a perfect time to explore not only the book of The BFG, but also some of his other stories. TTG Library has many of his stories and they are available in books, audio books and some DVDs. The library has an old animated movie of the BFG available on DVD to borrow.

Roald Dahl’s books are over 40-50 years old but they are still enormously popular today. The library has multiple copies of all his popular stories but you might need to place a reserve on the one that you want to borrow so that you don’t miss out.

Come into the library to have a look at not only the collection of Roald Dahl books but others that are similar in style.

Climate change can be deadly

David Kilner for blog

Adelaide author David Kilner has been writing crime stories for several years. He will be visiting the Library this month to speak about his first novel The Climate Change Murders and about lots of things ‘literary’.

When: Wednesday 27 July, 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Venue: Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost: Free.  Bookings are essential.

“In this light-hearted talk, David Kilner will discuss crime fiction in its many forms, from its origins 250 years ago, through the years to contemporary fiction. Along the way he’ll look at the impact of film and television on crime writing and ask what does reading or watching crime fiction actually do for us?  Finally he’ll talk about his own books – how they came to be written, some of the challenges of writing and why he chose his characters.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

In The Climate Change Murders you can meet the new cop on the beat, Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick.  Like all good fictional detectives, Skyla has a troubled past with a bad romance that she would rather forget about.   But of course, those experiences never really go away for our heroine.

“Somebody wanted Edwina Ling dead and it would not be a pleasant death, that was for sure. But who was the villain? The climate change activist? The professional colleague? The fishing industry guru? The ex-lover? The disgruntled employee? Detective Sergeant Skyla Merrick must tackle not only confusing evidence trails and public brawls but also long-buried personal traumas that threaten her objectivity. The only one she can turn to for help is the man who betrayed her.”  http://www.davidkilner.com

David says that he especially loves the British school of crime writing, as these authors explore why criminals act, their psycology and motivation, rather than just ‘whodunnit’.  He especially admires the work of PD James, Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George and Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine.

The Climate Change Murders could be your next good read.  If you would like to come along to meet David, you can book online or telephone: 8397 7333.  A wine and cheese supper will be served. Copies of The Climate Change Murders will be available for sale and signing by the author.

 

 

Young and passionate about reading? And writing?

Read books you love. Or hate. Or have never heard of. With other young people.

IMG_9232.JPG

Tea Tree Gully Library’s youth book club Cover 2 Cover encourages passionate debate and discussion on all kinds of books. The group meets on the 1st Wednesday of each month, from 4.30-6pm and is free to join.

Cover 2 Cover members receive extended borrowing time on items, money to spend on new books, opportunities to write book reviews for library customers and delicious snack food at each meeting. The atmosphere is casual and relaxed, with a strong emphasis on reading for pleasure. Guidance on texts and required reading for school and university can also be provided.

For young writers, Raven’s Writing Desk is the library’s youth writing group, who meet on the 2nd Wednesday of each month from 4.30pm.

Raven’s Writing Desk is also held in a relaxed environment. Members are encouraged to share their writing with others in the group to gain honest feedback and their creative written style can be appraised and developed with the help of the group’s facilitator, an English teacher.

Book recommendations, inspiration for writing and tips on getting published are shared at monthly Raven’s Writing Desk meetings. Members also receive extended borrowing time on all items.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Leprechaun 12426480_ml

The Irish ‘craic’ is a specific and quintessential Irish form of fun.

It can mean fun and enjoyment, general banter or a joke.  ‘Craic’ implies that a good time will be had by all and it often involves music and alcohol. ‘Craic’ also refers to a person who is good fun and great company.

The Library’s St. Patrick’s event can surely cater to all of the above interpretations of ‘craic’. So on the eve of St. Pat’s day, join us for a celebration of all things Irish, with humorous poet Jill Wherry (a craic if ever there was one), Irish music and dance.

Jilly Wherry

Jilly Wherry

When: Wednesday 16 March, 6.30pm – 7.30pm.

Venue:  Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

 Cost: Free. Bookings are essential.

Wine and a light supper will be supplied.

With so much Irish cheer, it would not be surprising if the beer turned green!

Book online or telephone the Library.

An evening with Alice

Presented by Catlin Langford, enthusiast and collector.

1book28 White rabbit

Illustrations by Sir John Tenniel from Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, 1865: The Queen of Hearts and the White Rabbit.

ingpenAlicecvr   Alice-In-Wonderland-1972-Movie

Illustrated by Robert Ingpen, 2009          Film, Alice In Wonderland, 1972.

When:  Wednesday 8 July from 6.30 – 7.30pm.

Where:  Relaxed Reading Area, City of Tea Tree Gully Library.

Cost:  Free.  Bookings are essential.

2015 marks 150 years since the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, considered as one of the most famous works of children’s literature. An Evening with Alice will investigate the numerous ideas, people, food, and paintings that inspired Carroll’s celebrated work of literature, providing an insight into topics as diverse as the Pre- Raphaelite group, to the not-so-beautiful turtle soup, to poisonous hats, and pet wombats.

You can book for An Evening with Alice here or telephone the Library on 8397 7333.

If you are of a crafty disposition, enjoy a sweet treat and are interested in everything ‘Alice’, READ ME.