Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Janns* + Janss* (for Janss* or Janns*)

Today marks the happy day on which two amazing children's authors were born: P.L. Travers in Queensland, Australia (1899); and Tove Marika Jansson in Helsinki, Finland (1914). Both women were wellsprings of creativity. They were uncannily in touch with the interior landscape of youth, and humanity itself, and gave birth to some of the oddest, funniest, most endearing and enduring characters in all of children's literature—Mary Poppins and the Finn Family Moomintroll. I've blogged here and there about each of these artists previously, so perhaps I'll simply leave you today with this beaming, blooming photo of Tove, along with a bit of wit and wisdom from Mary P. (who was also inclined to wear flowers on her head). Once asked who she would want to be if she weren't Mary Poppins, the nanny replied, with trademark exasperation: Mary Poppins. (I could swear I read that someplace years ago, but I can't remember where. If any of you know this quote, I'd be grateful for the citation.) On the other hand, as Jansson once put it in Tales from Moominvalley (1962): "You can't ever be really free if you admire somebody too much." So three cheers for our self-assured ladies of the hour! There were eight cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 189 in WorldCat.

(Finnish author Tove Jansson, unknown date, probably 1960s or '70s, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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