With my mother's blessing, I recently delved into a random pile of books she received (of the many piles it seems these days - keep them coming!) and came out with a boxed set of the collected Moomin stories by Tove Jansson. And what a revelation they turned out to be.
I never for one instant thought I would become so hooked on these little Scandinavian critters, but to my surprise, I found myself reading page after page entranced. The books are beautifully presented with incredible illustrations throughout, totally transporting me into a very strange but safe little world I'd never been to before.
In case you've never before been partial to a bit of Moomin (does sound rather like a nice afternoon tea cake), they are a family of trolls who live in Moominvalley, although their other homes have been in some strange places, such as the disused floating theatre which became chez Moom (doesn't it have a nice ring to it?), during a terrible flood of all things.
Having done a little bit of research into Jansson, I found out that her own family life was very similar to that of the Moomins - freethinkers, adventurers, and incredibly diverse. I think the thing that affects me most about the books is that constant spirit of acceptance between the characters. Each creature is celebrated for its own unique existence, and allowed to get on with the interesting business of living. I particularly found myself drawn to Snufkin, the loner of the extended family.
'...All his life, Snufkin had longed to pull down notices that asked him not to do the things he liked to do..."
Even as an adult, I still get a little spark of youthful glee when I spy that last unread book in the set on my shelf (she's not getting them back). The world of the Moomins is worth looking into. I'm sure I could extol its virtues for a very long time, but you all have teas/breakfasts/families/jobs to attend to, and I must return to calling bingo (a new skill) at my new, less nationally broadcast, place of work.