Literally. There is a whole new batch of books about the Moomins, and I’ve ‘read’ two.
I quite liked the board book Moomin’s little book of Numbers. It’s bright red, and I’m not sure why that helps, but it looks very cheerful. It’s just about learning the numbers from one to ten, and there are obviously loads of such books, but it’s nice to have the Moomin pictures.
The second book is Moomin and the Birthday Button, which is basically a picture book about how his friends seem to have forgotten Moomin’s birthday. It’s a sweet little story, but it feels like I’ve come across the same plot countless of times in other books. That doesn’t mean that a new generation of prospective Moomin lovers won’t enjoy it. I’m sure they will.
The slight feeling of unease that I’m experiencing is because I’m not sure if it’s all right to produce new Moomin books now that Tove Jansson is dead. I’d like to know who has ‘written’ them, and who made the pictures. It only says based on the characters created by Tove Jansson. The copyright is with the Moomin ‘company’, which is only to be expected.
What I don’t know is if these are exclusively Puffin’s books. I went hunting online, and found an article from Finland earlier this year. It seems that the contract with Puffin for ten new books is the largest they’ve ever had in Finland. I take that to mean in publishing or even in children’s publishing, rather than in business in general. But it’s clearly very good, and I can see why you don’t turn down something like this.
As one comment on the article said: ‘Only ten books? Why not twenty, when they are selling the soul of a dead author?’
But then I’d rather have a new generation discovering Moomin, than Disney books. It will be older Moomin fans who buy for their children or grandchildren.