Who Will Comfort Toffle?

The Boston Bookfair on Friday was lots of fun, though everything I was remotely interested in exceeded my price range by at least hundreds and often thousands of dollars. There was a lovely photography book with black and white 1950s-era images of the Lake District; a medieval manuscript treatise on medicine, illustrated in full color; a pre-suffrage publication by a minister from Indiana arguing on a Biblical basis for women's right to vote; and a fascinating early obstetrics text by the dude who was responsible for switching the standard birthing position from upright to horizontal (for which he ought to have been flayed).

Children's books, of course, were wonderful to browse. I found a copy of Four Little Kittens ($75.00), which three generations of Cooks will remember, and several E. Nesbits in first edition (priced at in the hundreds).

The most charming new find was a book by Tove Jansson, Finnish author of the Moomin Troll series, Who Will Comfort Toffle? This is the story of Toffle, who is afraid and alone, and his quest for a friend, so that he will not be so scared anymore. One day, he finds a bottle floating on the water and inside is a message from a person named Miffle, who is also scared and lonely. Toffle sets off on a quest to find Miffle, so that they can comfort each other. Of course, the implicit gender roles are knight-and-lady stereotypes, but the pictures were totally charming.

*Images from One More River and The Moomin Trove respectively.

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