Moominsummer Madness (Moomins Series #4)

Moominsummer Madness (Moomins Series #4)

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by Tove Jansson

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A huge wave has crashed through the valley, flooding the Moomins out of their home! With their usual resilience, the Moomins and their friends move into the first house that comes bobbing along. It's strange-looking, like a big cave with curtains hanging on either side. And when the house bumps into dry land and Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden decide to spend


A huge wave has crashed through the valley, flooding the Moomins out of their home! With their usual resilience, the Moomins and their friends move into the first house that comes bobbing along. It's strange-looking, like a big cave with curtains hanging on either side. And when the house bumps into dry land and Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden decide to spend the night on shore--then the adventure really begins. Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden get lost, and Moominpappa decides to write a play which they will perform in the house, in the hope that Moomintroll will hear about it and find his way home.
"Moominsummer Madness," the fourth in Tove Jansson's classic series of books about Moominvalley, is enchanting and full of exciting adventures and surprises, some of them odd even by Moomin standards!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The fanciful Moominfolk take to the stage as only they can in this series of droll escapades. Ages 7-10. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
“There is, in short, everything in the Moon books: giant comets and secret caves and tree houses and stilts and magic-carpet clouds and amusement parks run by despotic practical-joking kings and time machines and ski instructors.” –Harper’s

“We need Moominland for its gentle pace, its sense of beauty and awe, and its spirit of friendliness and empathy—now more than ever.” –The Horn Book

“These charming fantasies are propelled by a childlike curiosity and filled with quiet wisdom, appealing geniality, and a satisfying sense of self-discovery.” –School Library

“If you had no shame reading Harry Potter on the subway, there’s no need to hide Tove Jansson’s witty, whimsically illustrated Finnish series.” –Daily Candy

“The Moomin books make for both splendid bedtime read-alouds and solitary savoring.” Wall Street Journal


“It’s more than forty years since Jansson’s Moomintrolls first appeared. I found the writing and invention as appealing as ever. She has a thistledown touch.”—The Washington Post Book World

“The adventures of the easygoing Moomintrolls have all the crispness and tart surprise of a lingonberry, thanks to Jansson’s ineffably light touch, her uncanny sensitivity to universal childhood emotions, and her gift for terse, naturalistic dialogue.”—Entertainment Weekly

“A gentle, offbeat fantasy.”—The Horn Book

“A lost treasure now rediscovered . . . A surrealist masterpiece.”—Neil Gaiman

“Jansson was a genius of a very subtle kind. These simple stories resonate with profound and complex emotions that are like nothing else in literature for children or adults: intensely Nordic, and completely universal.”—Philip Pullman

“Tove Jansson is undoubtedly one of the greatest children’s writers there has ever been. She has the extraordinary gift of writing books that are very clearly for children, but can also be enjoyed when the child, like me, is over sixty and can still find new pleasures with the insights that come from adulthood.”—Sir Terry Pratchett

“Clever, gentle, witty, and completely engrossing.”—Jeff Smith, author of Bone

“It’s not just Tove Jansson’s wonderfully strange fairytale world that so appeals but also her beautiful line work and exquisite sense of design.”—Lauren Child

“[Tove Jansson] is a master.”—The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“The most original works for children to be published since the Pooh books, and possibly, since Alice.”—Saturday Review

“You will declare yourself a citizen of Moominvalley and call the stories your own—the Moomin world is that compelling.”—Riverbank Review

Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
Moomins Series , #4
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11 MB
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Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Moominsummer Madness

By Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Copyright © 1954 Tove Jansson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7163-2


About a bark boat and a volcano

Moominmamma was sitting on the front steps in the sun, rigging a model bark schooner.

"One big sail on the mainmast, and one on the foremast, and several small three-cornered ones to the bowsprit, if I remember rightly," she thought.

The rudder was a ticklish job, and the hold an odder one. Moominmamma had cut a tiny bark hatch, and when she laid it on, it fitted snugly and neatly over the hold.

"Just in case of a hurricane," she said to herself with a happy sigh.

By her side on the steps, knees under chin, sat the Mymble's daughter, looking on. She saw Moominmamma next tack the stays with small glass-headed pins, each of a different color. The mastheads were already flying bright red pennants.

"For whom is it?" asked the Mymble's daughter respectfully.

"For Moomintroll," replied his mamma, and searched her workbasket for something for an anchor cable.

"Don't push me about!" cried a small voice from the basket.

"Dear me," said Moominmamma, "here's your little sister in my workbasket again! She's going to hurt herself on the pins and needles one day."

"My!" said the Mymble's daughter menacingly and tried to pull her sister out of a skein of wool. "Come out at once!"

But Little My managed to crawl deeper into the wool, where she disappeared completely.

"Such a nuisance she turned out so very small," complained the Mymble's daughter. "I never know where to look for her. Couldn't you make a bark boat for her, too? She could sail in the water barrel, and I'd always know where she is."

Moominmamma laughed and looked in her handbag for another piece of bark.

"Do you think this would hold Little My?" she asked.

"Certainly," said the Mymble's daughter. "But you'll have to make a small life belt as well."

"May I cut up your knitting ball?" shouted Little My from the sewing-basket.

"By all means," replied Moominmamma. She was admiring her schooner and wondered if she had forgotten anything. As she sat holding it in her paw a big black flake of soot came floating down and landed amidships on the deck.

"Ugh," said Moominmamma and blew it away. Immediately another flake landed on her nose. Suddenly the air was full of soot.

Moominmamma rose with a sigh.

"So very annoying, this volcano," she remarked.

"Volcano?" asked Little My, and thrust an interested head out of the wool.

"Yes, it's a mountain not so very far from here, and all of a sudden it's begun spitting fire and smoke over the whole valley," explained Moominmamma. "And soot. It's always kept quiet and good ever since I married. And now, after all these years, exactly when I've finished my washing, it has to sneeze once again and blacken all the things I hung out."

"Everybody's burning up!" shouted Little My happily. "And everybody's houses and gardens and playthings and little sisters and their playthings!" "Fiddlesticks," said Moominmamma genially and whisked away another speck of soot from her nose.

* * *

Then she went off to look for Moomintroll.

Under the slope, a little to the right of Moominpappa's hammock tree, was a large pond of clear, brown water. The Mymble's daughter always insisted that it had no bottom in the middle. Perhaps she was right. Around the edges, broad and shining leaves grew for dragonflies and skimming-beetles to rest on, and below the surface spidery creatures used to row wrigglingly along, trying to look important. Further down, the pond-frog's eyes glinted like gold, and sometimes you could catch a quick glimpse of her mysterious relatives that lived deep down in the mud.

Moomintroll was lying in his customary place (or one of his places), curled up on the green-and-yellow moss with his tail carefully tucked in under him.

He looked gravely and contentedly down into the water while he listened to the rustle of wings and the drowsy buzz of bees around him.

"It's for me," he thought. "I'm sure it's for me. She always makes the first bark boat of the summer for the one she likes most. Then she muddles it all away a little, because she doesn't want anybody to feel hurt. If that water-spider goes crawling eastwards, there'll be no dinghy. If it goes westwards, she's made a dinghy so small that you hardly dare take it in your paw."

The spider crawled off eastward, and tears welled up in Moomintroll's eyes.

At that moment there was a rustling in the grass, and his mother thrust out her head between the tufts.

"Hello," she said. "I've got something for you."

She bent down and floated the schooner with great care. It balanced beautifully over its own reflection and started away on the port tack as if manned by old salts.

Moomintroll saw at a glance that she had forgotten the dinghy.

He rubbed his nose friendlily against hers (it feels like stroking your face against white velvet) and said: "It's the nicest you've ever made."

They sat side by side in the moss and watched the schooner sail across the pond and land at the other shore beside a large leaf.

Over at the house the Mymble's daughter was shouting for her little sister. "My! My!" she yelled. "Horrible little menace! My-y-y! Come home at once so I can pull your hair!"

"She's hid somewhere again," said Moomintroll. "Remember that time we found her in your bag?"

Moominmamma nodded. She was dipping her nose in the water and looking at the bottom.

"There's a nice gleam down there," she said.

"It's your golden bracelet," said Moomintroll. "And the Snork Maiden's necklace. Good idea, isn't it?"

"Splendid," said his mother. "We'll always keep our bangles in brown pond water in the future. They're so much more beautiful that way."

On the front steps of Moominhouse stood the Mymble's daughter, nearly breaking her voice with yelling. Little My sat quietly in one of her numberless hideouts, just as her sister knew.

"She'd use some kind of bait instead, if she were wise," thought Little My. "Honey, for instance. And then beat me up when I came."

"Mymble," said Moominpappa from his rocking-chair. "If you keep shouting like that she'll never come."

"It's for my conscience's sake," explained the Mymble's daughter a little conceitedly. "It hurts me more than her. When Mother went away she said to me: 'Now I'm leaving your little sister in your care, and if you can't bring her up nobody can, because I've given up.'?"

"I see," said Moominpappa. "Then please yell all you want to, if it takes a weight off your mind." He reached out for a piece of cake from the luncheon table, looked around him carefully, and dipped it in the cream jug.

The verandah table was laid for five. The sixth plate was under it, because the Mymble's daughter declared that she felt more independent there.

My's plate, of course, was very small, and it was placed in the shadow of the flower vase in the middle of the table.

Now Moominmamma came galloping up the garden path.

"There's no hurry, dear," said Moominpappa. "We had a snack in the pantry."

Moominmamma stopped to look at the luncheon table. The cloth was speckled over with soot.

"Oh, dear me," she said. "What a terribly hot and sooty day. Volcanoes are such a nuisance."

"If it only weren't quite so far away," said Moominpappa. "Then one could find a paperweight of real lava," he added longingly.

It really was a hot day.

Moomintroll had remained lying in his place by the pond, looking up at the sky, which had turned sparkling white like a sheet of silver. He could hear the seagulls squawking to each other down by the seashore.

"There's a thunderstorm coming," Moomintroll thought sleepily and rose to his feet from the moss. And as always when there was a change in the weather, dusk, or a strange light in the sky, he noticed that he was longing for Snufkin.

Snufkin was his best friend. Of course, he also liked the Snork Maiden a lot, but still it can never be quite the same with a girl.

Snufkin was a calm person who knew an immense lot of things but never talked about them unnecessarily. Only now and again he told a little about his travels, and that made one rather proud, as if Snufkin had made one a member of a secret society. Moomintroll started his winter sleep with the others when the first snow fell. But Snufkin always wandered off to the South and returned to Moominvalley in the springtime.

This spring he hadn't come back!

Moomintroll had begun waiting for him as soon as he awoke, even if he didn't tell the others. When the birds began to wing their way high over the valley, and even the snow on the northern slopes had melted, he became impatient. Never before had Snufkin been so late. And then summer came, and long grass grew all over Snufkin's camping place by the river, as if no one had ever lived there.

Moomintroll waited still, but not so eagerly any more, just reproachfully and a little tiredly.

The Snork Maiden had brought up the topic once at the dinner table.

"How late Snufkin is this year," she said.

"Who knows, perhaps he won't come at all," said the Mymble's daughter.

"I'm sure the Groke's got him!" cried Little My. "Or he's fallen down a hole and gone to pieces!"

"Hush, dear," said Moominmamma hastily. "You know that Snufkin always comes out on top."

"But still," Moomintroll reflected on his quiet walk along the river. "There ARE Grokes and policemen. And abysses to fall in. And it happens that people freeze to death, and blow up in the air, and fall in the sea, and catch herring-bones in their throats, and a lot of other things.

"The big world is dangerous. Where there's no one to know one and no one to know what one likes and what one's afraid of. And that's where Snufkin's walking along now in his old green hat ...? And there's the Park Keeper who is his great enemy. A terrible, terrible enemy ..."

Moomintroll stopped on the bridge and stared bleakly down at the water. At that moment a paw touched him lightly on the shoulder. Moomintroll turned with quite a jump.

"Oh, it's you," he said.

"I don't know what to do," said the Snork Maiden, giving him an imploring look under her fringe.

She wore a wreath of violets around her ears and had felt bored since morning.

Moomintroll made a friendly and slightly preoccupied sound.

"Let's play," said the Snork Maiden. "Let's play that I'm a wondrous beauty who gets kidnapped by you."

"I really don't know if I'm in the mood for it," replied Moomintroll.

The Snork Maiden drooped her ears, and he hastily brushed his nose against hers and said: "There's no need to imagine that you're a wondrous beauty, because that's what you are. Perhaps I'll feel like kidnapping you tomorrow instead."

The June day passed, and dusk was falling, but the weather remained just as warm.

The air was almost scorchingly dry and full of swirling soot, and the whole Moomin family drooped and became dull and silent and unsociable. Finally Moominmamma had an idea and resolved that everybody was to sleep out in the garden that night. She made up their beds in nice places, and by every bed she placed a little lamp so that nobody would feel lonely.

Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden curled up beneath the jasmines. But they couldn't sleep.

It was no ordinary night. It was silent in an uncanny way.

"It's so warm," complained the Snork Maiden. "I keep tossing and turning, and the sheet's horrible, and soon I'll have to start thinking about unpleasant things!"

"Same here," said Moomintroll.

He sat up and looked around him in the garden. The others seemed to be asleep, and the lamps were burning quietly by the beds.

Suddenly the jasmine bushes stirred and shivered violently.

"Did you see that?" said the Snork Maiden.

"Now they're quiet again," replied Moomintroll.

As he said it their lamp turned over in the grass.

The flowers on the ground gave a start, and then a narrow crack came slowly creeping across the lawn. It crept and crept and finally disappeared under the mattress. Then it widened. Earth and sand began to trickle down in it, and a moment later Moomintroll's toothbrush slipped straight down into the dark and yawning earth.

"It was a brand-new one!" exclaimed Moomintroll. "Can you see it?"

He applied his nose to the crack and peered down.

Suddenly the earth closed again, with a light whupping sound.

"Brand new," repeated Moomintroll blankly. "Blue."

"Just fancy if your tail had been caught!" the Snork Maiden consoled him. "Then you'd have had to sit here for the rest of your life!"

Moomintroll rose speedily. "Come along," he said. "We'll sleep on the verandah."

Moominpappa was already standing by the steps and sniffing the air. There was an anxious rustling in the garden, flocks of birds were flying up, small feet hurrying through the grass.

Little My thrust out her head from the sunflower by the steps and shouted happily: "Here goes!"

A faint rumbling sounded from deep under their feet, and from the kitchen came a loud crash as the pots and pans dropped off the shelves.

"Breakfast?" cried Moominmamma, startled out of her sleep. "What's up?"

"Nothing, dear," answered Moominpappa. "I suppose it's only the volcano again ...? Just think of all those paperweights ..."

Now the Mymble's daughter was awake also. Everybody gathered at the verandah railing, wide-eyed and sniffing.

"Where's that volcano?" asked Moomintroll.

"On a little island off the coast," replied his father. "A black little island where nothing grows."

"Don't you think it's just a teeny bit dangerous?" whispered Moomintroll and put his paw in Moominpappa's.

"Oh, yes," replied Moominpappa kindly. "A weeny bit."

Moomintroll nodded happily.

It was at that moment they heard the great rumble.

It came rolling up from across the sea, first low and mumbling, then growing stronger and stronger.

In the fair night they could see something enormous rise high over the treetops of the forest, like a great wall that grew and grew with a white and foaming crest.

"I suppose we'd better go into the drawing room now," said Moominmamma.

They had no more than got their tails inside the door when the flood wave came crashing through Moominvalley and drenched everything in darkness. The house rocked slightly but didn't lose its foothold. It was soundly built and a very good house. But after a while the drawing-room furniture began to float around. The family then moved upstairs and sat down to wait for the storm to blow over.

"I haven't seen such weather since my young days," said Moominpappa brightly and lit a candle.

Outside, the night was in full uproar, cracking and banging things about and thumping heavy waves against the shutters.

Moominmamma absentmindedly seated herself in the rocking chair and set it slowly rocking.

"Is this the end of the world?" Little My asked curiously.

"That's the very least," replied the Mymble's daughter. "Try to be good now if you can find the time, because in a little while we're all going to heaven."

"Heaven?" asked Little My. "Do we have to? And how does one get back again?"

Something heavy crashed against the house, and the candle flickered.

"Mamma," Moomintroll whispered.

"Yes, dear," said Moominmamma.

"I forgot the bark boat by the pool."

"It'll be there tomorrow," replied Moominmamma. Suddenly she stopped rocking and exclaimed: "Dear me, how could I!"

"What?" said the Snork Maiden with a start.

"The dinghy," said Moominmamma. "I've forgotten to make a dinghy. I had a definite feeling that I'd forgotten something important."

"Now it's reached the damper," announced Moominpappa. He kept on running down to the drawing room to measure the water level. They looked toward the stairs and thought of all the things that would have been nicer dry.

"Did anybody take the hammock in?" asked Moominpappa suddenly.

No one had remembered the hammock.

"Good," said Moominpappa. "It was a horrid color."

The swish and hiss of the water outside made them sleepy, and one after another they curled up on the floor and went to sleep. But before he blew the candle out Moominpappa set the alarm clock at seven.

He was terribly curious about what had happened outside.


About diving for breakfast

At last daylight came back again.

It began as a narrow strip that wriggled along the horizon before daring to climb higher in the sky.

The weather was calm, and pleasant. But the waves, in excited confusion, were washing new shores that had never before met the sea. The volcano that had started all the fuss had calmed down. It sighed wearily now and then, and breathed a little ash toward the sky.

At seven sharp the alarm clock shrilled.

The Moomin family awoke at once, and everybody hurried to the window to take a look. They lifted Little My up on the sill, and the Mymble's daughter took a firm hold of her dress to keep her from falling.

The world was changed indeed.

Only a piece of the woodshed roof remained over the swirling water. A few people, probably from the forest, sat huddled on it, shuddering with cold.

All the trees grew straight out of water, and the mountain ridges around Moominvalley were now clusters of rocky islands.

"I liked it better the old way," said Moominmamma. She screwed up her eyes against the morning sun that came rolling out of the whole chaos, red and big like an autumn moon.

"And no morning coffee," said Moominpappa.


Excerpted from Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson, Thomas Warburton. Copyright © 1954 Tove Jansson. Excerpted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Tove Jansson (1914–2001) was born in Helsinki and spent much of her life in Finland. She is the author of the Moomin books, including Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll. Born into an artistic family—her father was a sculptor and her mother was a graphic designer and illustrator—Jansson studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, and L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In addition to her Moomin books, she also wrote several novels, drew comic strips and worked as a painter and illustrator. In 1966, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her body of work. Jansson had a studio in Helsinki but spent most of her time at her home on a small island called Klovharu.

Tove Jansson (1914–2001) was born in Helsinki and spent much of her life in Finland. She is the author of the Moomin books, including Comet in Moominland and Finn Family Moomintroll. Born into an artistic family—her father was a sculptor and her mother was a graphic designer and illustrator—Jansson studied at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts, and L’École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In addition to her Moomin books, she also wrote several novels, drew comic strips and worked as a painter and illustrator. In 1966, she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her body of work. Jansson had a studio in Helsinki but spent most of her time at her home on a small island called Klovharu.

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Moominsummer Madness 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
Do you know what Moomins are?   They are a family of white, roundish fanciful creatures with large snouts like hippopotamuses and are the subjects of a series of nine children’s fairy tale like books written and illustrated by Tove Marika Jansson (1914–2001), a Swedish-speaking Finnish novelist, painter, illustrator, and comic strip author. There are Moominpappa, Moominmamma, their son Moomintroll, his girlfriend the Snork Maiden, and a host of other eccentric characters.  The first such book, The Moomins and the Great Flood, in which they come to live in their present home of Moominvalley, appeared in 1945, though it was the next two books, Comet in Moominland (1946) and Finn Family Moomintroll (1948), that brought the author fame.  Moominsummer Madness is book number 4.  The English translation was made by Thomas Warburton. When a flood sweeps through their valley around midsummer time, the Moomins must find a new house, and one just happens to come floating by. It seems to be normal enough, although there are curtains where one wall should be, strange rows of lights, a revolving stage, and other odd amenities. So they hop on board and go riding down the river.  Then Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden disappear.  Can the Moomins ever make it back to their home in Moominvalley?  Or has it been completely destroyed?  And will they be able to find Moomintroll and the Snork Maiden?  Other than references to drinking palm wine and smoking a pipe, there is really nothing objectionable or inappropriate in this story.  However, it is a book of silly nonsense with a somewhat bizarre plot and a lot of rather random conversation.  If one is looking for a children’s version of “theatre of the absurd,” this would fit the bill.  However, anyone who is wanting a story that makes sense and follows a logical sequence would probably not care for it. Another reader reviewer well captures my reaction.  “For me this book was a mess – disjointed, self indulgent, and self important, with so many characters it left my and my child’s heads in a spin. Finally managed to struggle through it, but in hind-sight, the book had little that was coherent about it, and left me wishing we had read something else.”  However, if awards impress you, for her contribution as a children’s writer Jansson received the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1966.  The other books in the series are The Exploits of Moominpappa, or Moominpappa’s Memoirs; Moominland Midwinter; Tales from Moominvalley; Moominpappa at Sea; and Moominvalley in November.  In addition to the novels, there are five picture books (The Book about Moomin, Mymble and Little My; Who Will Comfort Toffle?; The Dangerous Journey; An Unwanted Guest; and Songs from Moominvalley), and the Moomins have since been the basis for a comic strip that ran between 1945 and 1993, some comic books, numerous television series, several films, and even a theme park called Moomin World in Naantali, Finland.  If this kind of thing floats your boat, then have at it, but it isn’t my cup of tea (to mix metaphors badly).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In this installation of the Moomin-books, they're put out of their house by a flood... and they begin to inhabit a theater, without knowing what it is, or what happens in one. This book carries some of the same ideas from past Moomin books (such as a flood, and spells), but introduces new adventures and characters. Sniff was absent from this book, but Snufkin played a fun role. Overall, another fun book from Jansson.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even though I am a fifth grader, top of my class, and read some pretty challenging books, this book goes into my "favorites" catagory. This book was so adorable, that I couldn't get over how sweet the Moomin family was. I recomend this book to everyone; young and old. I can not wait t get my hands onto another Moomin book. Enjoy!