While watching Sunday Morning, something I do every Sunday, I saw a piece on Dutch author and illustrator, Dick Bruna. If you're not familiar with the name, you may be familiar with his books. Bruna is the author of over 120 books for children about a little white bunny named Miffy. Dick Bruna was born in the Dutch province of Utrecht in 1927. His great-grandfather started a publishing company called A.W. Bruna & Zoon, in 1868. Management of the company has been passed down the family line for generations. Under Bruna's father, Albert Bruna, the company grew to be one of the largest publishing companies in the Netherlands. So, it's fare to say that Bruna has publishing in his blood. But Bruna aspired to be an artist, not a publisher. Ironically, Bruna's first real job as an artist was with his family's company when he was hired to be a cover designer.
The Miffy character was created by Bruna in the late fifties. She's very similar to the Hello Kitty character. The inspiration for Miffy came from Bruna's observations of a small white rabbit hopping around his home while on vacation with his wife and children. Taken with the rabbit, he attempted to capture the rabbit in art form, eventually leading led to the character known today as Miffy. Similar to other famous cartoon characters, Miffy has gone through a number of transformations over the years. Bruna once admitted that he had not realized the change himself. How fortunate we all are that Bruna has dedicated so much of his life to creating something that makes children happy.
What I love most about the Miffy books is the way the characters always look out at the reader. This simple stare results in the reader being drawn into the story. Children will love the use of simple colors and shapes. To learn more about Bruna and his work, visit Bruna's website and click on the history section. Dick Bruna has a fascinating history that should be shared. So if you've never heard of Miffy, here's your chance to meet someone new.