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23
Who Will Comfort Toffle?: A Tale of Moomin Valley
Format: HardcoverChange
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 6, 1998
Tove Jansson's Moomin books are a treasure trove of wistful, slightly introspective fantasy characters for readers 8-14 years old. "Toffle" is an ideal introduction, combining some of the same characters (and Jansson's trademark sense of childhood's strange dislocating tenor) with beautiful, wild fullpage illustrations. The story is told in rhyme that (in translation anyway) sometimes slips into mere singsong.
Toffle runs away from home but finds his own bravery when a bottle washes up on shore with a plea for help from another child, Miffle. There is a happy ending, of course, but what stays with you is Toffle's alienation from the adult world and his overcoming of those fears.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2002
Toffle is small, he's scared and the world is big. But there is always someone somewhere who is (or feels) smaller and who needs you.
I read this book as a child (in original Swedish) and just thinking of it (I'm 40 by now) brings tears in my eyes and warmth into my heart. This book will be a lifetime companion to any person, adult or child,who has ever felt small, alone and frightened.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2007
This book follows the story of Toffle, a little boy that lives somewhere in Scandinavia and is fearful of the world around him - his neighbors, the darkness, etc. But he eventually gets the courage to journey forth into the scary world in order to help a young girl named Miffle who has sent out a message asking someone to help HER because she's afraid and alone. The beauty of this book is that it's not only about finding the courage to do things out of caring for another, but also about how you can miss some of the wonderful things all around you simply by focusing on your fears. It's akin to Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go" in terms of having a much deeper meaning than its simple format would suggest. And the rhymes in the English translation are really nicely done. This book leaves me feeling a deep glow of warmth every time I read it. It's a tragedy that it's not available in the US easily - someone could make really good money just importing a large quantity of them. Also, by the way, even though it has a lot of the same characters as the other Moomin books, it's not quite as strange or random as they seemed (not sure if that's because of the English translation or missed cultural references?). If you know someone traveling to Scandinavia, ask them to pick up a copy (or a dozen for your closest friends and relatives). It's a wonderful book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2010
I am delighted that this classic Tove Jansson's book so well loved in Scadinavia ( and Japan!)is finally available for distribution in the US.The colorful and precise art work is vintage Tove Jansson, the pages populated with creatures familiar from the Moomin books: Moomins, hemulens, filijonks,Edward the Booble and new acquintances, the whompses. The story of shy little Toffle who musters up his courage to rescue even shyer Miffle sends an encouraging universal message to shy and timid youngsters everywhere. The new translation flows well and to me has retained the essence of the original though some die-hard devotees may object to the differences. I can't recommend this book strongly enough - definitely five stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2014
I grew up with the original translation of this text, which was slightly dark, beautifully evocative, suspenseful and deeply moving. I can honestly say that the underlying message of acceptance and the need to take a risk and reach out for love was formative in my life, and, I think the lives of my children. My own children grew up with a well made color photocopy of the original (my older sister got the original). Imagine my joy at finding this beautifully reproduced re-printing (I thought) of this beloved book. Imagine my dismay at discovering that the translation had been altered and had lost much of its power. Now, I know, that translation is translation, and, given a new translator, one must expect a new text, but, since (at the time) I was unaware of the re-translation, I felt betrayed. I have managed to find a used copy (I hope) of the original translation of that, so, perhaps, my photocopy can be passed to my kids. If you can find the original Kingsley Hart translation, you will find it a much better read.

The translation of this text is probably more important than the translation of its companion "The Book About Moomin, Mymble and Little My," only because that book has gorgeous die-cut artwork which draws a child in. Sadly original translation printings of that book appear to exist only in collector editions that are far to expensive to expose to the ministrations of a child. A re-print of the original translation of that book would really be wonderful.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2001
The shortest book by Tove Jansson constitutes a minor item in Her bibliography, but as they say, "small is beautiful". This miniature is poetry in its shining best. One of the best love stories I have ever read. Snip: (...)
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10 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2000
From all great stories by Finnish author Tove Jansson Who will comfort Toffle? is my all-time favourite. I was given this wonderfully illustrated book as a liitle child and I was immediately surrounded by its magic. It is originally written in Swedish but for me a Finnish version is the true one - making such a big impact on me. Reason is clear: in Finnish language there is not separate words like she and he, and Toffle was mistaken as a woman searching for another woman by me already as a child. Actually the book has been dedicated to another woman, life companion of Tove Jansson, so my interpretation is not far from the truth. I would say that this book is a must in every lesbian's book shelf. It is the present I give to everybody I love anythere in the world. It is translated also into French, but I have a dream of having it translated it into Spanish in my life time. The English version is not out of print. I just recently sent it to a friend in Australia.
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VINE VOICEon December 22, 2013
In this tale in the Moomin literature, Tove Jansson tells the story of alone and lonely Toffle. He sets out on a whimsical journey to find someone who will comfort him. With similarity to the mythical worlds of Dr. Seuss, Toffle passes fillyjonks and whompses, listens to flute-playing Snufkin, and sees Hemulen floating in the his inner tube. Then, after Toffle finds a message in a bottle from Miffle who is also lonely, his course is set. Toffle finds Miffle, and true love is found.

Jansson's hallucinogenic illustrations are a perfect counterpoint to her story. And they are critical for decoding what all the creatures are.
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on April 25, 2011
Expressive, whimsical drawings and a vibrant color palette make Who Will Comfort Toffle a delightful book. Tove Jansson is a master at capturing complex emotions such as isolation, depression, love, joy and wonder in simple, expressive drawings. Kudos to Sophie Hannah for doing such a great job with the English translation from the original Finnish.Definitely recommended and one to purchase.
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on January 8, 2014
This book has it all - a fabulous narrative, fun characters, amazing settings, and poetry. The translation works well for us and we have read this book many times. We also love the book about Little My that ends with Mama giving Moomin and friends beautiful berry juice. Just fun and simple and the drawings inspire little imaginations.
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