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“Who Will Comfort Toffle?” – creating audiences for children's preferred futures

By Helen Dampier and Liz Stanley

Abstract

Now once upon a time, although not very long ago.\ud And Hidden in the forest where the tall dark pine trees grow,\ud There lived a boy called Toffle in a house that stood alone.\ud He always felt so lonely, and one night was heard to moan; “I feel so frightened of the dark,especially tonight…….”\ud Who Will Comfort Toffle - Tove Jansson (1960)\ud In this tale from the Moomin Valley Toffle finds himself driven from his home by the frightening noises of the forest. All alone, and too shy, at first to approach the many Moomin characters he passes along the way, he gains confidence by helping a scared and lonely Miffle who needs help more than he does. Toffle’s quest to save Miffle from the dreadful Groke inspires him to move beyond his own fears and anxieties, and at the same time create an audience to listen to his preferred future. What would happen if Toffle were alive today, living within a community with all his worries and anxieties, his fear of the dark and the noises of the forest? Maybe Toffle refuses to go to school or becomes aggressive when asked about his fears and worries? Maybe his parents are concerned about his social isolation or potential depression? In all probability Toffle would be referred to a child psychiatrist or a therapist. He would be evaluated, assessed, diagnosed with any number of conditions and disorders, or perhaps his parents would be mandated to attend parenting classes

Topics: BF, L1
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2008
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:4821

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