I love all the Moomin novels, but this was the first one I read as a child and it will always have a special place in my heart. Also, it contains some of Jansson’s best ideas – the magical transforming hat, the King’s Ruby, the island of the Hattifatteners and, crucially, a major role for the Groke, my favourite secondary character. I particularly like the scene in which the dictionary falls into the hat, and the words come out as peculiar little creatures. I come back to the Moomin books time and time again (I’d guess that I read the entire canon every couple of years, interspersed with the Narnia books) because they’re extremely comforting, they connect me to my childhood and they still amuse, inspire and enchant me. Jansson’s illustrations are as great as her writing, and I never tire of seeing them, even on the ubiquitous merchandising. Sometimes I wonder about the quality of the translations – and if anything was going to inspire me to learn Swedish, it would be to read them in the original. I have enjoyed Jansson’s adult books, but nothing touches the Moomins.