Most Finnish American’s know only of the Moomins from the gifts their family in Finland send for the holidays. We really don’t have much perspective on them. If Tove Janson had not rejected offers to sell to Walt Disney, they might be known worldwide. So I thought I might share what I know.
The Moomins are fairy tale creates that look like white hippopotamus that live in Moomin Valley created by Tove Janson in 1945. Moomin, which is also the name of the main character, starts off as a young boy who gets into trouble while exploring with his friends. In later stories, we see Moomin marry his girlfriend Snork Maiden and their lives together.
The stories of their adventures have reached outside of Finland and Sweden to find fan bases in England and Japan. In addition to books and TV, there are several Moomin coffee shops in Finland, Japan, and China and a Moomin World in Finland. A new Moomin World is being planned outside Tokyo, Japan to open in 2017. It should come as no surprise that Tove Jansson was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame, the Academy Awards of Comic, at Comic Con 2016. Still in North America, we know little of them.
Moomins TV Series
In an effort for my daughter to learn some Finnish, I started a mission a few years ago to get every Moomin DVD from the last series. Moomins have been on television off and on since 1959, usually in single show format but two series were produced that helped grow Moomin appeal. From 1977 to 1982, a stop-motion felt character show was produced in Poland. Then from 1990 to 1992, a traditional animation series was produced in Japan co-produced with the Finnish and Dutch.
It is this later series that formally introduced me to the Moomins. Thanks to my mother recent trip, I now have completed my 25 DVD set.
My daughter started watching the Moomins when she was six months old. In my house only I could really understand what was being said. The tales are rather amusing. Often time, the mother, Moominmamma’s coffee solves the valleys troubles. Sometimes it’s up to, the father, Moominpappa to pull out his shot gun, which I’ve yet to see fired. Some of the characters are too young for little children like the Groke or the Hattifatteners, but still many of the stories cover the ages.
My Moomin Lego Idea
So when my new interest in Moomins was joined with my renewed interest in LEGOs, I couldn’t help myself. I started working on a Moomin Valley scene, after visiting Moomin World. I was able to create my own custom minifigure head from a couple of Moomin pencil tops. Then I discovered Lego Ideas where anyone can submit an idea for a LEGO set. Unfortunately the rules precluded my use of the pencil top heads and I was on a mission.
Last month, I found an official LEGO piece that would work. Here’s the results. If you like my Lego Idea, please vote for it. Learning as much as I have about the Moomins and their fan base, I made me happy to build this. Hopefully we will see more of the Moomins in the future. (Their movie from 2014 only had a few showing in the U.S.)