Miffy (Dutch: Nijntje, pronounced [ˈnɛiɲcə]) is a fictional rabbit appearing in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artist Dick Bruna. The original Dutch name, "Nijntje", is a shortening of the diminutive konijntje, "little rabbit".

Miffy
(Nijntje)
Miffy, by Dick Bruna.jpg
Miffy
First appearance1955
Created byDick Bruna
Voiced byEva Poppink (Miffy the Movie)
In-universe information
SpeciesRabbit
GenderFemale

The first Miffy book was produced in 1955, and almost 30 others have followed. In total they have sold over 85 million copies, and led to two separate television series as well as items such as clothes and toys featuring the character. A feature-length film, Miffy the Movie, was released on 30 January 2013.

Four television series based on the character have been produced: Dick Bruna's Miffy Storybook Classics: The Original Series, which ran from 1 January 1984 until 1 December 1992 on ITV in the United Kingdom, Miffy: Colors, Numbers, and Shapes, which ran from 1 January 1996 until 31 December 1996 on Cartoon Network in the USA, Miffy and Friends, which ran from 3 February 2003 until 10 August 2007 on Noggin in the USA, and Miffy's Adventures Big and Small, which premiered 2 October 2015 on Noggin's successor Nick Jr. in the USA.

HistoryEdit

Miffy was created in 1955 after Bruna had been telling his one-year-old son, Sierk, stories about a little rabbit they had seen earlier in the dunes,[1] while on holiday at Egmond aan Zee. Miffy became a female after Bruna decided that he wanted to draw a dress and not trousers on his rabbit. Depending on the story, Miffy can range in age from being a baby to being four years old.

At first Miffy looked like a toy animal with floppy ears, but by 1963, her design was changed to her current incarnation, a stylized form of a rabbit. Miffy is drawn in a graphic style, with minimalist black graphic lines. Bruna chose to only use black, white, the primary colours (red, yellow and blue), green, orange, brown, and gray. It is his use of primarily primary colors that makes Miffy instantly recognisable, and also popular with preschoolers, because of her bright and intense simplistic colours.

There are now almost 32 Miffy titles and many more for the other characters. Bruna has produced a total of 124 picture books for children. The Miffy books each contain twelve pages of story. Each page has one illustration and four lines of verse, the last word of the second line rhymes with the last of the fourth. They are written about things that children can understand, and situations they will face such as going to the hospital and going to school, and they always have a happy ending. Some books have no text at all, such as Miffy's Dream.

The books are printed in small format. Bruna considers it important that his audience feels that his books are there for them, not for their parents. Most Miffy books have an advisory reading level of age four to eight years.

Bruna's books have now been translated into more than 50 different languages, and over 85 million copies have been sold all over the world.[2] It is also translated in dialects, including in Zeelandic by Engel Reinhoudt.[3] Dick Bruna has won many awards for his books, such as the Golden Brush in 1990, for Boris Bear and the Silver Brush for Miffy In The Tent in 1996. In 1997, he was awarded the Silver Slate for Dear Grandma Bunny, a book where Miffy's Grandmother was sick and died.

The other characters that appear in the books are her family: Miffy's parents, her Grandma and Grandpa, her Auntie Alice, and 'Uncle Bob,' a family friend, who appears in Miffy Goes Flying. A new brother or sister for Miffy is introduced in Miffy And The New Baby. She also has many friends, Boris and Barbara Bear, who first appeared in 1989 and are boyfriend and girlfriend, Poppy Pig, who appeared in 1977, and her niece Grunty, Snuffy, who appeared in 1969, and other bunnies such as Aggie and Melanie.

Miffy was designed as a children's book character, but the design is now used on many other things like clothes, stationery, toys, glasses, household items etc.

In the early 1990s, an image of Miffy holding an adjustable spanner coyly behind her back appeared on flyers produced by people taking direct action against the UK government's road building program. This unauthorised use of the character spread[4] and Miffy became a mascot for groups involved in radical ecological direct action.

 
Miffy statue at the Nijntjepleintje ('little nijntje square') in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Miffy appeared in her first TV show in 1984, called Dick Bruna's Miffy Storybook Classics: The Original Series. Each episode was traditionally animated and ran for approximately five minutes. The show aired in the Netherlands on KRO, in the United Kingdom on ITV, in Canada on TVOntario in Australia on ABC, and in the USA on Cartoon Network's Small World block with VHS releases from Geneon USA, episodes of the show were later included as Bonus Features on Miffy and Friends DVDs.

From 2003 to 2007, Miffy and Friends aired on children's television channels such as Treehouse in Canada, and Noggin in the USA. It then moved to public television. The show added several new characters, such as Melanie's African family and the family of Boris' and Barbara's common cousin, Umik. The series was produced by Pedri Animation BV,[5] a Dutch stop-motion animation company. It was voiced simply by a feminine storytelling narrator.

Miffy is sometimes assumed to be a Japanese character, because Sanrio's Hello Kitty, introduced in 1974, is rendered using a similar line style. The Miffy brand is popular in Japan, with strong sales of Japanese-made Miffy merchandise. In an interview for The Daily Telegraph, Bruna expressed his dislike for Hello Kitty. "'That,' he says darkly, 'is a copy [of Miffy], I think. I don't like that at all. I always think, "No, don't do that. Try to make something that you think of yourself".[2] In 1999, Miffy was the ninth top-selling character in Japan, where licensed merchandise sold ¥37.59 billion[6] ($330 million).[7]

In addition, on 26 August 2010, Mercis BV, representing Bruna, brought suit against Sanrio with the claim that one of Hello Kitty's companion characters, a rabbit named Cathy, infringes on the copyright and trademark of Miffy.[8] On 2 November 2010, a Dutch court ruled against Sanrio and ordered the company to stop marketing Cathy products in Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.[8][9][10] On 7 June 2011, following the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Sanrio and Mercis reached an out-of-court settlement requiring Sanrio to halt production of merchandise that features Cathy. Instead of continuing the court battle, the two companies announced that they would donate the legal fees to help the earthquake victims.[11][12]

In Bruna's hometown, Utrecht, there is a square named after nijntje, the Nijntjepleintje (lit: Little Nijntje Square, to retain the rhyme) and in 2006, the Centraal Museum opened a permanent exhibition, the dick bruna huis (Dick Bruna house).[13]

Miffy celebrated her fiftieth birthday in 2005. This was marked in cities across the globe, for example, at the Manchester Art Gallery in England. She also serves a "celebrity character spokesperson" for Unicef.[14]

Miffy's namesakes include a new species of booklouse from Peru. The insect was given the scientific name Trichadenotecnum miffy in 2008, because its epiproct, an appendage on its abdomen, resembles a small rabbit.[15]

In July 2014, Bruna announced his retirement; the rights to the Miffy character will not be sold.[16]

Miffy's Adventures Big and Small premiered 2 October 2015.[17] It currently has a total of six seasons.[18] It airs on Nick Jr. in the USA.[19]

On 16 February 2017, Dick Bruna died at the age of 89.[20]

CharactersEdit

  • Miffy: Miffy is a little girl rabbit. She likes to draw. She also likes to play with her friends.
  • Miffy's school friends: Miffy and her school friends have been friends for a very long time.
  • Dan: A new boy in Miffy's class. He sits next to Miffy at school.
  • Uncle Pilot: Miffy's uncle is Father Bunny's brother. He has his own airplane.
  • Father and Mother Bunny: Father and Mother Bunny live in a little white house with a red roof. They often take Miffy to the zoo, the playground, or the museum.
  • Grandpa and Grandma Bunny: Grandpa and Grandma Bunny are Father Bunny's parents. Miffy loves to go and visit them.
  • Auntie Alice: Auntie Alice is Father Bunny's sister.
  • The New Baby: The new baby is still a tiny baby.
  • Melanie: Melanie is Miffy's pen friend.
  • Snuffy: Snuffy is a female dog. She has three puppies.
  • Boris Bear: Boris Bear lives in the little wooden house near the woods with his girlfriend, Barbara Bear.
  • Barbara Bear: Barbara Bear is Boris Bear's girlfriend.
  • Poppy Pig: Poppy Pig lives in a lovely little house with little plants beneath the windows.
  • Grunty: Grunty is Poppy Pig's niece.

Miffy storybooksEdit

From Dick Bruna, Linders J, Sierman K, de Wijs I and Vrooland-Löb T. Wanders Publishers, Zwolle, 2006. (English) ISBN 90-400-8342-8 (Dutch) ISBN 90-400-9106-4

  • 1955 Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo (first version of Miffy)
  • 1963 Miffy, Miffy at the Zoo, Miffy in the Snow, Miffy at the Seaside
  • 1970 Miffy Goes Flying, Miffy's Birthday
  • 1975 Miffy at the Playground, Miffy in Hospital[21]
  • 1979 Miffy's Dream
  • 1982 Miffy's Bicycle
  • 1984 Miffy at School
  • 1988 Miffy Goes to Stay, Grandpa and Grandma Bunny
  • 1990 Miffy is Crying, Miffy's House
  • 1991 Auntie Alice's Party
  • 1992 Miffy in the Tent
  • 1997 Lieve Oma Pluis (Dutch)
  • 1996 Miffy at the Gallery
  • 1997 Miffy and Melanie
  • 1999 Miffy the Ghost, Miffy the Fairy
  • 2001 Miffy Dances
  • 2002 Miffy's Letter, The New Baby
  • 2003 Miffy's Garden
  • 2004 Miffy in Lolly Land, A Flute for Miffy
  • 2005 Hangoor (Flopear); in Dutch only
  • 2006 Queen Miffy
  • 2008 Nijntje en de seizoenen (Miffy and the Seasons), Nijntje is Stout (Miffy is Naughty); in Dutch only
  • 2009 Een cadeau voor Opa Pluis (A Gift for Grandpa Bunny); in Dutch only
  • 2014 Miffy on Holiday
  • 2015 Miffy and the Royal Baby; A Lift-the-Flap Book
  • 2017 Miffy is Naughty
  • 2018 "Dear Grandma Bunny" (English version of "Lieve Oma Pluis")


Published by Big Tent Entertainment

  • 2005 Miffy Loves New York City

Published by The Tate Gallery, London

  • 2007 Miffy the Artist

Published by Mercis Publishing bv Amsterdam & Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

  • 2019 Miffy x Rembrandt

International broadcastEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Allardice, Lisa (15 February 2006). "Bunny love". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 9 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Harrod, H. (31 July 2008). "Dick Bruna, creator of the Miffy books, talks about his life and work". Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 5 September 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Zanger en dialectschrijver Engel Reinhoudt overleden". PZC.
  4. ^ "Miffed by Miffy, Earth First! Action Reports". Archived from the original on 14 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Pedri Animation homepage" (in Dutch). Pedri-animation.com.
  6. ^ Tsukada, Yuko (7 September 2001). "Action! Report No.3: 市場環境を調べる". クリエイターのための自営学 (in Japanese). Creative Work Station / Asuka Publishing. ISBN 4756911501. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  7. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average) - Japan". World Bank. 1999. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Announcement of Provisional Disposition Order Against Sanrio" (PDF) (Press release). Sanrio Company, Ltd. 4 November 2010. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  9. ^ Kollewe, J. (4 November 2010). "Miffy biffs Cathy in Kitty copycat case". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  10. ^ Dawson, C.; K. Takeuchi (4 November 2010). "Miffy, Hello Kitty Take Bunny Beef to Court". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Announcement Regarding Legal Dispute Settlement" (PDF) (Press release). Sanrio Company, Ltd. 7 June 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  12. ^ "Japan's Hello Kitty resolves bunny battle with Miffy". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. Archived from the original on 14 September 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  13. ^ dick bruna huis. Bruna distributed all DVDs from miffy with Warner Home Video, Later in 2015, Bridge Entertainment DVD took bruna home video. Archived 2015-04-20 at the Wayback Machine Centraal Museum, Utrecht.
  14. ^ "Miffy exhibition comes to Edinburgh". National Library of Scotland. 16 March 2007. Archived from the original on 11 July 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  15. ^ Yoshizawa, K., et al. (2008). Systematics and biogeography of the New World species of Trichadenotecnum Enderlein (Insecta: Psocodea:"Psocoptera": Psocidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 153(4) 651-723. (pg. 87)
  16. ^ Zech, Maxime (30 July 2014). "Nijntje creator Dick Bruna retires". NLTimes. Retrieved 31 July 2014.
  17. ^ Miffy's Adventures Big and Small, retrieved 26 January 2021
  18. ^ "Miffy's Adventures Big and Small". TVGuide.com. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Nickelodeon to premiere two Miffy series". Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Tekenaar Dick Bruna (89) overleden". Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS). Retrieved 17 February 2017.
  21. ^ "Miffy and others in hospital: library service in a hospital ward"; Elizabeth Schlenther. Manchester: Haigh & Hochland Ltd, 1988 ISBN 1 869888 01 4

External linksEdit