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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Moomin and the Birthday Button
by Tove Jansson
Age Range: Under_5
Moomintroll gets a beautiful gold button for his birthday and canít wait to show it to his friends. But when none of them seems to remember that itís his birthday, he wonders if they are really his friends at all! Poor Moomintroll! Will he still manage to have a happy birthday?
Based on the original Moomin stories by Tove Jansson, this picture book introduces the five and under age range to the wonderful world of the Moomins. Whilst the original stories are novels for older children, this new range of picture books uses Janssonís characters and illustrations to bring the Moomins alive in glorious colour and very simple prose. Aside from the Moomin and the Birthday Button storybook, look out for The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My, Moominís Lift-The-Flap Hide and Seek, Moominís Little Book of Numbers and Moominís Little Book of Words.
Colourful and cheerful, this simple story brings the Moomins alive and loses none of Tove Janssonís spirit. The various characters stay true to their incarnations in the original books and the hopeful and excited Moomintroll is a figure that all children will empathise with and recognise as we see his birthday excitement and then his sadness at being left out by his friends. The way the book looks at friendship is also very appropriate for an under-five audience just starting to make their own friendships and to think about other peopleís feelings.
The visual appeal of this novel is also a huge draw and children will want to look at this book. Part of the appeal is the beautiful, bright illustrations with dreamy backgrounds in different colours which give the book a slightly psychedelic quality, but the characters are fascinating too. Thereís Sniff, who looks like a cross between a rabbit and a kangaroo, the doll-like Little My and the Moomins themselves, a species of trolls with a strong resemblance to hippos. Curious but at the same time slightly familiar, the Moomins are intriguing and will quickly draw children into their innocent, faintly magical world.
Vibrant, simple, curious and fun, this is a picture book with a warm heart and a cast of wonderful and weird but well-loved characters. Do not miss this chance to meet the Moomins!
Abby Phillips (2012)