Shopping is one of the great pleasures of life! Who can say that they aren't thrilled when they find that perfect purchase. Of course all the wonderful goodies that we can buy in the shops isn't what is really important in life, but they can bring a smile to our faces and that can't be bad!
When I was a kid I just loved Miffy! These days Miffy is a
very popular character throughout the world and she was first created in 1955 by
the Dutch artist and author, Dick Bruna.
Miffy is a very cute little girl bunny, and is drawn with white fur, a
round face, long, pointy ears, a cross for a mouth and little black eyes. The character of Miffy was inspired by the
small, white rabbit that used to hop around the garden of the Bruna’s holiday
home. Dick Bruna’s oldest son, Sierk, was about a year old at the time, and
Bruna wove this white rabbit character into the bedtime stories that he used to
tell him. Miffy’s name in Dutch was initially ‘Nijntje’ which was how a very
small child would pronounce the word ‘konijntje’ or ‘little rabbit’. But why
did Dick Bruna decide to make his Miffy character a little girl bunny?
Apparently he created Miffy as a little girl because he preferred to draw a
rabbit dressed in frocks, rather than one dressed in trousers. The early
depictions of Miffy showed her as a rabbit soft toy, with floppy ears, but by
1963 she had evolved into the familiar Miffy character that we know and love
today, although in some of the stories Miffy is drawn as a baby bunny and in
some she is shown as a pre-schooler.
Miffy Stuffed Toy in Tulip Festival
Dick Bruna and Miffy
Before the days of Miffy, Dick Bruna used to illustrate the
covers of books for his father’s publishing house A.W Bruna and Zoon, and was
especially celebrated for his covers of the Black Bear paperback book
series. The very first picture book that
Bruna created for children was ‘The Apple’ in 1953 and it showcased Bruna’s
love of clean lines and using vivid colours. He works by creating thick black outline
drawings and filling them in with bright, primary colours. Bruna is very fussy
about what colours he will use in one of his illustrations and generally sticks
to red, blue, yellow, black and green. He will very occasionally incorporate
orange, brown or grey, but does not like the colour purple. So if purple is
your favourite colour, do not look for it in a Miffy picture book! Dick Bruna
is now in his eighties, but is still working on his books and illustrations,
getting his ideas from watching his grandchildren or the local kids playing. He
has written an amazing 120 picture books for children to date, with, hopefully,
many more still to come. What may surprise lovers of Hello Kitty is that Dick
Bruna is not a fan, as he thinks that the character of Hello Kitty’s friend
Cathy the rabbit was copied directly from Miffy, and a ban on selling
merchandise with Cathy images in the Netherlands was even imposed by a Dutch
The very first Miffy book was published in 1955 and 30 other
Miffy tales have followed. The Miffy stories are very simple tales centred
around the ordinary, day-to-day situations that all small children have to deal
with such as going to school, visiting the zoo, or having a new baby in the
family. Miffy books also always have happy endings! Dick Bruna was determined
that the text and illustrations would remain simple, so that they would
stimulate the young reader’s imaginations, although, initially, this simplicity
was not popular with the adults who looked at the books. However, children
everywhere immediately fell in love with Miffy and the books have now sold
around 85 million copies worldwide and have been translated into around 50
different languages. Miffy also has a family who feature in the stories,
including her parents, Grandpa, Grandma and a new baby, Aunt Alice and Uncle
Bob, and friends such as the bunnies Aggie and Melanie, Poppy Pig and Grunty,
Snuffy, and Barbara and Boris Bear. The very earliest Miffy picture books were
produced in a rectangular format, and from 1959 they became the familiar square
format that they still are today. These early rectangular Miffy books are now
regarded as collector’s items, so if you own one that is in good condition, it
may be worth a fair bit of money. The shape of the books was changed so that
children could handle them more easily with their little hands, and the covers
are deliberately sturdy so they won’t be damaged too much by being bashed
around by boisterous kids. Generally speaking, the illustrations are placed on
the right hand pages and the text on the left hand pages, and there are sixteen
pages in each book. The text consists of four lines per page, with the last
word of the second line rhyming with the last word of the fourth line, making
the Miffy stories very easy to read aloud.
Miffy on the Small Screen
With the increasing popularity of Miffy it was almost
inevitable that she would become a star of the small screen. In 2003 a TV
series was made based on the Miffy character, which was aired on cable
channels. The show, named Miffy and Friends, moved to public television and was
sponsored by the favourite kids chocolate brand Nestlé’s Milky Bar. The simple,
straightforward approach of the Miffy books was adhered to when making the TV
series, and there is just one, female narrator telling the stories. Many of the
Miffy and Friends adventures have now been released on DVD, so your kids can enjoy
watching these great stories at any time, and will keep them entertained on
rainy days at home or on those long car journeys that are so boring for little
ones. If you are looking for great children’s presents, Miffy DVDs make great
gifts for birthdays, or as stocking fillers at Christmas.
Miffy Toys and Miffy Merchandise Online
The Miffy picture books are still hugely popular and have
led to the creation of a huge range of Miffy merchandise such as toys,
electronics and kids clothing. There are many adorable Miffy stuffed toys
available in different sizes and designs. Miffy stuffed toys are very soft and
cuddly, and make wonderful gifts for babies and toddlers. Miffy is also featured on a wide range of kid’s
clothes, baby accessories, and I have even seen a really cute Miffy mp3 player
and docking station. You will find the biggest range of Miffy books, DVDs and
toys online, so have a look on Amazon today and lose yourself in the wonderful
world of Miffy today!
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Jellycat Cordy Roy Stuffed Animals
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Jellycat Books and Plush Books
The earlier that kids are exposed to books the better, so these great Jellycat plush books are a great place to start. They offer your infant the chance to look at bright images, feel different textures, hear interesting noises and even chew on. They have soft corners and no sharp edges and also come with a fastening that will attach the plush book to your buggy, crib or car seat.
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