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The Exploits of Moominpappa

(Mumintrollen #4)

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  6,227 ratings  ·  354 reviews
'I decided to run away. There simply wasn't anything else to do.'

Here at last is Moominpappa's promised life story - from the days when he was abandoned in a newspaper parcel on the doorstep of a Moomin orphanage, to when he ran away to see the world and was lucky enough to meet Moominmamma.
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published January 5th 2012 by Puffin (first published 1950)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  6,227 ratings  ·  354 reviews

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Start your review of The Exploits of Moominpappa (The Moomins, #4)
Hannah Greendale
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

Jansson's decision to switch to a first-person perspective enlivens this darling account of young Moominpappa navigating one quirky adventure after another.

I must be terribly unobservant; despite having read the Mumintroll series on and off for several decades, I had somehow not noticed that Snusmumriken and his father Joxaren are Zen masters. But this passage was so obvious that even I couldn't miss it:
När Fredrikson avlöste mig vid rodret i gryningen nämnde jag i förbigående Joxarens förvånande och fullkomliga brist på intresse för omgivningen.

Hm, sa Fredrikson. Kanske han tvärtom bryr sig om allting? Vi bryr oss om en enda sak. Du vill bli. Jag
Spencer Orey
My kid didn't like this as much as the last book and mostly asked if we could skip on to the next one. But in the end we both liked it.

Moominpappa's voice isn't as fun as the usual narrator, and my kid missed the usual characters, who are barely present.

That said, there are great new characters, creatures, and adventures. There's a giant whiny dragonish thing. And there's a ghost that really got my kid going. First, in horror about a scary ghost. Then, as a hilarious ghost trying to sound scary
Paul E. Morph
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this book, Moominpappa reads his oft mentioned memoirs to the children. He introduces a brand new cast of characters to the series as he does so, which is delightful. The book is very entertaining. My one criticism would be that some elements feel like an afterthought, as though the author ran out of steam towards the end, and one plot point is never resolved at all. Oh, that’s two criticisms, isn’t it? Never mind; it’s Christmas.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: second-childhood
Depending on your point of view, I have either read this book twice (once twenty years ago, and once last week), or I've read two different books one time each. Moominpappa's Memoirs is a revised edition of The Exploits of Moominpappa. It seems Jansson went back and rewrote and added bits to the original not long after its first English translation was published. The English language publishers apparently chose to pretend this hadn't happened (it must indeed have been quite vexing for them) and ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_to_kids
Of the three Moomin books I've read so far, this one is the deepest and most philosophical. That probably makes it the most "adult" of these alleged children's books.

Of course, they've all got traces of wisdom and philosophy in them, but it really emerges here, where Moominpappa sets out to write his life story. Like the other books, it's warmly absurd and imbued with deep emotion. Moominpappa considers himself quite special, born under important stars, resulting in an expressed desire for adve
Sean D'angelo
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As far as Tove Jansson's work goes, Moominpappa's Memoirs may be better suited for the more mature and philosophical children (or nostalgic adults like myself). It's definitely not a bedtime read. But in my opinion no other book in the Moomin series captures quite so well the pure whimsical delight of Jansson's imagination. In fact, it's the only one that's ever brought a tear of joy to my eye.

For those who have read and enjoyed other Moomintroll books, don't be discouraged by the absence of you
Nov 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Interesting to contrast this with later books in the series like November or Moominpappa at Sea -- this is a much more joyful and zany book, and while it's one of the few Moomin stories that feels directly satirical, it's also one of the most child friendly. Most of what I love about it, I remember from my experience as a child -- the Island Ghost, the treasure hunt for eggs, the advent of Little My, the chase for clouds, the Niblings. The drawings are fantastic: lively, evocative and graceful, ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finland
One of the few Moomin books I haven't re-read regularly since I was a kid, and that's on me, because this is just nifty. Jansson is fully aware that her protagonist is a bit silly, and turns the whole book into one of the most charming examples of unreliable narration committed to paper, explaining everything that seems to not add up or seem weird with well, that's just how you write it in memoirs... right up until the ending which seems just a little too pat, but then again, that's the way you ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all and sundry
Recommended to Judy by: a mystery...
This is one of my all time favourite books. This is the edition I read as a child whilst swinging in a hammock on summer holidays at our farm. It was the first Moomin book I had read, although it is not the first in the sequence. I'm so grateful to have been introduced to the work of the stellar Tove Jansson as a child, because her work for children and adults has given me immense pleasure over the years.

She was outstanding as an artist as well as a writer. Most of all she inspires me still wit
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cute cute cute. I listened to this on Spotify, Tove Jansson was narrating it and that was really good. It brightened up my time on the buss.
Matthew Hunter
For whatever reason, we struggled early to connect with Moominpappa's Memoirs. Moominpappa depicts himself from page 1 as a somewhat unlikeable egotist. Not surprisingly, Jansson’s gentle sense of humor transforms everything, and Moominpappa becomes adorable in the end:
“Let me stop here, at this remarkable turning point of my stormy youth, let me close my Memoirs at the moment when the most wonderful of Moomins comes into my life! Since then my follies have been supervised by her gentle and unde
Deborah O'Carroll
Yet another fun one! I loved getting to read Moominpappa's memoirs -- such escapades, such oddness, such fun! :) Moominpappa has quite a "feel" to his storytelling. It's great. Also the Joxter was fun -- nice to know where Snufkin's slightly lawless ways originated. ;) So much fun! And I especially loved how the memoirs would pause occasionally as Moominpappa is interrupted in his reading by Moomintroll, Sniff, and Snufkin, as they ask questions about the story and their various daddies' adventu ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Moomin books are all quite odd, but this was the oddest so far. Perhaps it was just because the narrative style is different than the others, but there's other things: for example, one chapter ends like this:

"'Nibling,' I said to end this surprising conversation, 'what'll your mother say when she finds that you've run away?'

'She'll cry, I believe,' said the Nibling."

And that's it. That's the end of the chapter. It's so surreal, sometimes I felt like I was reading it in a dream. That being
Dec 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I like how Moominpappa is so shy about his high opinion of himself sometimes and then at other times he just says things like "I was born under special stars... I was found in a small sea shell padded with velvet."
:-) and "Does he resemble me?" but at least he whispered that.
MB (What she read)
Moominpapa's Memoirs = The Exploits of Moominpapa. I love the Moomins! Re-read because I needed a joy break. Forgot how stunning her artwork is--amazing! This book has such a lovely ending too. So satisfying, ...more
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading through the Moomin books, which I somehow missed when a child, is my summer reading for this year. There is more in these than your average summer read and a delightful way to pass hot or stormy days.
Alex Borghgraef
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most funny of all the Moomin books I read so far. I love the melancholic darkness which permeates the series, but this one is just hilarious fun. Loved it.
A sweet, light story from beloved Moomins series that worked quite well for cheering me up. Moomin’s Dad is slightly tiresome character with his vanity but the whole book is written with such tender irony and with many subtle comments on human nature that it was a real pleasure.
Sara Aye Moung
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful, philosophical, funny, peaceful. As always ToveJansson’s stories are enchanting.
Here Moominpappa gets the chance to tell with his own words about his younger years. A dismal childhood in an orphanage and the feeling of not being loved or appreciated changes into great adventures with Hodgkins and his ship. Moominpappa's narrative voice is pompous and self-centered but not the least bit annoying. The satirizing of the memoir genre gives a special air to the whole book.

Several of my favourite scenes from the tv-series are included: a female Hemulen gets rescued from Groke and
I was sick at home with the flu recently when my daughter told me I should read this book. It begins with Moominpappa in bed with a cold, acting like a baby, afraid he’s going to die and that all the treasure of his life experiences will be forever uncommemorated. So he sits up and begins writing his memoirs. He has very romantic notions about himself. He was born, he says, under propitious stars. Though an orphan, he suspects he is a child of royalty. His life, from its earliest days, was one m ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, fiction
So, I am always checking out the middle grades fiction section at my local bookstore, looking for books for Jefferson as well as books for my We Need Diverse Books challenge supporting his classroom. The day I was scouring the shelves and found a set of all of Jansson's Moomin novels, I may have done a little happy dance. I definitely made a strange animal noise of some kind.

At some point in my childhood, I was gifted with a copy of Tales from Moominvalley by my Uncle Tom, and I quickly realized
Karl Orbell
Two things I have learnt from this book.

1. Moominpappa is a narcissistic pillock.
2. Tove Jansson can't write in the first person at all well.

Moominpappa lifting weights

Nevertheless, this little novel is presented as the memoirs of Moominpappa, and serves as a history for the other Moomin books, so it's a necessary read within the series.

We are introduced to the fathers of Snufkin and Sniff, and eventually their mothers too, not all quite alike their children, but sufficiently so to imagine that this is just any other st
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of the Moomins
3.5 stars

Moominpappa's Memoirs is really a story within a story, in which Moominpappa is telling the story of his adventurous youth to Moomintroll, Sniff, and Snufkin. During Moominpappa's travels, he meets the eccentric characters who would become the parents of Sniff and Snufkin, as well as his own future wife.
Moominpappa's Memoirs is of course quite funny and creative at times, introducing some fun new characters. The ghost, Edward the Booble, and the bossy Hemulen Aunts are entertaining,
Robert Collins
Jan 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As Moominpappa writes his memoirs, he describes the adventures he and creatures he encountered as young Moomin. He describes how he ran away from home, travelled the world and how he eventually met Moominmamma.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I consider it to be timeless. Jansson’s imagination and ability to be highly descriptive but brief really makes the story move quickly and holds the reader’s attention. The book jumps effortlessly between the present and the past. I think that Ja
In this installment of the Moomin series we follow the story of Moominpappa's youth. Moominpappa is embarrassingly convinced of his self-importance but is still a lovable character. Hodgkins, the Muddler and Joxter are all as different from each other as they are from Moominpappa and this creates a wonderful cast of characters. Moominpappa is very ambitious and wants to become a famous adventurer. He does not understand the Joxter who is happy just being. This conversation between Moominpappa an ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit to being a little disappointed when I discovered that this was not the story of Moominpappa's adventures following the Hattifatteners, but I soon came round to embrace this strange tale of fathers: Moomintroll's, Sniff's, and Snufkin's, respectively. I was a little concerned that Sniff and Snufkin appeared to have never even met their parents, but I guess in Moominland that's not such a crazy notion. Anyway, this is Moominpappa's somewhat embellished account of his early years, from his ...more
The Memoirs of Moominpappa is again wonderfully illustrated and a lovely book to add to my hardback collection!

This book focuses on Moominpappa himself and his life and while this is still an enjoyable read, I found I missed the involvement of the other characters like Moominmamma, Moomintroll, Snork and the Snork-Maiden. For this book a number of other characters were introduced but perhaps too many new faces was introduced at once!

The book centres around Moominpappas journey at sea, and I fou
Mar 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scandinavia
Continuing on with my mission to re read all the Moomin books this year.

This is the tale of Moominpappa's youth - growing up at a Hemulen-run orphanage for young Moomins, and setting out on his first adventures, all narrated by Moominpappa in his very modest way. You get to find out where Little My (one of my favourite characters) comes from - an island ruled by a King who doesn't want anyone to feel inferior or in awe to him so insists they call him Daddy Jones. Little My is in the story, but I
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Tove Jansson was born and died in Helsinki, Finland. As a Finnish citizen whose mother tongue was Swedish, she was part of the Swedish-speaking Finns minority. Thus, all her books were originally written in Swedish.

Although known first and foremost as an author, Tove Jansson considered her careers as author and painter to be of equal importance.

Tove Jansson wrote and illustrated her first Moomin

Other books in the series

Mumintrollen (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Moomins and the Great Flood (The Moomins, #1)
  • Comet in Moominland (The Moomins, #2)
  • Finn Family Moomintroll (The Moomins, #3)
  • Moominsummer Madness (The Moomins, #5)
  • Moominland Midwinter (The Moomins, #6)
  • Tales from Moominvalley (The Moomins, #7)
  • Moominpappa at Sea (The Moomins, #8)
  • Moominvalley in November (The Moomins, #9)
  • The Adventures of Moominpappa
  • Muumien suuria ja pieniä seikkailuja

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