The World of Moomin Valley is a lavish book looking at the weird and wonderful creatures created by Tove Jansson.
The book is beautifully presented with an embossed cover and gold detailing on the numerous characters from the world of the Moomins. Inside, the premium feel of the book continues with high grade paper stock and many reproductions of Jansson's illustrations, which are beautifully presented in exquisitely clean images.
The foreword by Frank Cottrell-Boyce, an essay which looks at the origins and meaning of Jansson's works, is an incisive and insightful look at the relevance and legacy of the Moomins. The book proper then starts.
The writing style by author, Philip Ardagh is informal and easy to read. The book starts by presenting biographies of the various inhabitants of Moomin Valley that most people, even casual acquaintances of the books and animations will already know, but some of the genealogy was surprising to me and it was great to get things clarified, especially in the very useful family tree diagram.
The second section looks at Jansson's childhood and examines her family life, including her early sketches and foray into political cartoons. The inspiration behind some of the Moomin characters are examined, including Jansson's lifelong female partner Tuulikki Pietiläs, supposedly the foundation for Tootiki. The biography is quite a brief section and for those looking for a more in-depth look at Jansson's life, may not be satisfying enough but in the context and style of this book, it fits in.
The World of Moomin Valley is a beautifully illustrated and easily accessible guide to all things Moomin. The book is a wonderful primer for people new to the Moomins or for the Moomin fan in your life. It is such a gorgeously packaged book with lots of information and images containers that it is a must buy.