Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Miffy And Friends – Miffy Books And Toys

Who is Miffy?

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 court.

Miffy Books

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 NestlĂ©’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!

Miffy image Alpsdake Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Wonderful World of Jellycat Stuffed Toys and Plush Books

What are Jellycat Toys?

Have you heard about Jellycat luxury soft toys?  If your little ones love their stuffed animals, and have a whole menagerie of soft toys in their bedrooms, you might want to check out Jellycat soft toys. Jellycat are a British soft toy manufacturer, which has been creating luxury stuffed animals since 1999.  Jellycat are passionate about the innovative designs of their cuddly toys, and introduce many new designs of stuffed animals every year.  Jellycat plush toys are fun, colourful, and trendy, but they are also so soft and cuddly. Jellycat plush toys make perfect gifts for young children, who will instantly fall in love with these adorable stuffed lions, bunnies, cats and elephants.  Jellycat soft toys are also very safe toys for your precious kids, as Jellycat ensure that they comply and exceed both the EN71 European Testing Standard and the American Testing Standard for the materials they use and the way in which they manufacture their soft toys. One of the very best places to buy these cute Jellycat stuffed animals is online, so if you are looking for the perfect child’s birthday gift or great Christmas presents, then have a look at the great selection of Jellycat toys available on Amazon today. Jellycat soft toys come in all shapes, sizes and colours and the range of animals that you can choose from is huge, so however quirky the favourite animal of your child may be you can bet that you will be able to find it in the Jellycat range of plush animals.

Jellycat Junglie – Great Stuffed Jungle Animals

Wild jungle animals are very scary and dangerous, and yet they make some of the most attractive soft toys!  If your child loves wild animals, they will love the Jellycat Junglie stuffed animals. Jellycat Junglie plush animals are adorable and so very soft and cuddly, so go online today to do some big game hunting for your perfect Jellycat Junglie.  If you love lions, you will adore the Jellycat Junglie lion, which has the softest fur and a wonderfully fluffy mane and long tail.  If you prefer gorillas, there are also some of the softest stuffed gorillas and monkeys that have the cheekiest faces and cuddly soft fur. There are also adorable Jellycat Junglie stuffed zebras and soft giraffes for you to choose from, if you like more gentle jungle animals.  You could fill a whole Noah’s Ark with these lovable Jellycat Junglie stuffed animals and it will be very difficult for you to choose between them. You can buy these adorable soft animals in lots of different sizes and colours, so whatever your budget or favourite wild animal, there is a Jellycat Junglie stuffed animal out there made just for you.

Jellycat Bashful Stuffed Animals

One of the most adorable of the Jellycat ranges is their Bashful selection of stuffed animals. If you have a little one who is a bit shy, why not buy them a super soft and cuddly bashful friend? These adorable soft toys look so shy and bashful, that you just have to pick them up and give them a comforting cuddle. Your child will never be able to let their Jellycat Bashful toy go, so be prepared to have to take their Bashful bunny, lamb or puppy wherever you go with your child. So how many shy stuffed animals are there for you to choose from. Well, there are bashful giraffes, bunnies, puppies, donkeys, ducklings and cows that all need a little love so that they can regain their confidence. All of the Jellycat Bashful stuffed animals have the softest imaginable fur and come in a great range of sizes and beautiful colours.

Jellycat Cordy Roy Stuffed Animals

Jellycat pride themselves on their innovative toy designs and use of materials and their Cordy Roy range of stuffed animals are made from amazing thick-ribbed corduroy that gives these toys a great texture for little fingers to explore. This luxurious deep corduroy material is also huggable and soft, making Jellycat Cordy Roy soft toys great for your kids to cuddle. These are cute and brightly coloured stuffed animals and you also have a very unusual choice of stuffed animals to choose from. You can choose from a Cordy Roy bright orange aardvark, a plush purple Cordy Roy horse, a navy blue elephant and even a very unique green Cordy Roy alligator.  So if you are looking for a more unusual stuffed toy, bring a Cordy Roy soft toy home for your child to love.

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.

So dive into the wonderful world of Jellycat stuffed animals today, by going online today and finding your favourite Jellycat soft toy on Amazon. So whether you are after the King of the Jungle or a bashful bunny, you are bound to find the perfect cute and adorable Jellycat soft toy for your child.