Taikurin Hattu, quite non-oviously “Finn Family Moomintroll” in english, is my favorite of Tove Jansson’s Moomin books.
But it was not in book form that I first encountered the story, but as a radio serial. Lasse Pöysti’s reading of the book in five or ten minute weekly installments was a staple of Sunday mornings back in the day.
Taikurin Hattu covers most of the active half of a moomin’s year – from the early spring to the arrival of the fall. But it concentrates on the good bits, the summer.
The titular headpiece of the tale is its main plot device. The wizard’s hat works wonders and wreaks havoc amongst the inhabitants of the valley. Unlike the rollercoaster roadtrip of the previous book here the action remains at home, and the perils are nowhere as earth-shattering. But they are scary, nonetheless, though less physical: loss of identity, the cold of the Groke and utter travesty of justice meted out on her.
The author doesn’t explain much. Even though there are footnotes attached, very little of the history of the characters and their relationships is explicitly told. Readers have to infer quite a bit from the dialogue and actions, which is obviously quite a challenge for the youngest members of the audience. Nevertheless, the book works well without the subtexts.
Taikurin Hattu is whimsical, cutesy and warm – things can only get more angsty from here.