Moomin Series by Tove Jansson
My family discovered the Moomins in the last couple of years and love these stories about Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Snufkins,Moomintroll, Little My and many others. They look like little hippos and have all sorts of adventures together. We have beautiful Moomin board books, chapter and picture books and the books of cartoon strips. Moomins have been a classic and much loved children series in Europe for years and have recently gained popularity in the U.S. These are great stories for a wide range of elementary ages. I am very excited that the Moomin Flash Cards and Moomin Matching Games have just been released and arrived in the store. We have also found around approximately a hundred of the original 1960s 5 minute episodes online, with all the characters and backgrounds made entirely out of felt. I love the timing, humor and aesthetics of it all. To see these little Moomin creatures is to fall in love and become a wee bit addicted to their quirky habits and adventures.
The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
I read this book in the fall and became completely enthralled with the main character, a father of 28 children and husband of 4 wives. The title initially seems an oxymoron until you feel increasing empathy for this cast of characters and the roles they have stepped and fallen into. I am a huge fan of the HBO series Big Love and recently read Daughters of the Saints by Dorothy Allred Solomon and years ago I devoured Under the Banner of Heaven. I have always found myself feeling my entire empathy and interest lying with the women in these stories but Udall has illustrated the father in this book to be such an endearing and human character that I found myself squirming with empathy. We were all disappointed to have Brady Udall’s visit last month cancelled and can’t wait for his rescheduled visit this fall. I highly recommend reading this book and feel he has taken the subject matter and given us a fresh new perspective of what life might be like in a polygamist family.
Children’s Picture books by Oliver Jeffers
Jeffers takes well known childhood anguishes of loneliness, frustration, guilt, patience, friendship and loss and eloquently with a touch of endearing humor weaves them into light tales. Very subtly he weaves in the pedagogical skills and help that leads towards a satisfying ending. The stories are beautifully illustrated by Jeffers and I must emphasize that while each story could be seen as a grown up as tackling challenging issues for children, my children on the other hand just devour them and find they speak directly to their sense of humor and pacing. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers is, for example, about a child who gets his kite stuck in a tree and the ensuing adventure as he keeps throwing more and more up in the tree until everything is stuck in the tree. We all know that feeling of being “stuck” as do children and Jeffers brings humor and delight to each and everyone of his stories. We currently have at least 8 of his books including some of my favorites: Lost and Found, The Heart and the Bottle, and The Incredible Book Eating Boy.