With polka dot eyes as black as ebony and a kiss for a mouth, you could call Miffy the original Bunny Girl. To celebrate her 60th anniversary, master toymakers Steiff have produced a special limited edition Miffy.
No-one would be more surprised than author and illustrator Dick Bruna that a doodle of a little rabbit designed to entertain his young son, back in 1955, has become one of the world’s best loved children’s characters. But that’s because Dick Bruna is a gentle, unassuming man with great humility. “I have a small talent, and have to work very hard to do something with it,” he says. “But when you make things as simple as I do, you leave lots of room for a child’s imagination.”
Born in the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, perhaps it was fate that Dick Bruna’s little white rabbit Miffy – Nijntje in her native Netherlands – should become a global sensation.
Her distinctive silhouette has appeared in over 30 Miffy books, her gentle tales translated into more than 40 languages. In Holland, Miffy is nothing short of a national hero, read in every school in the land; there is even a bronze statue of Miffy adorning the town square of Utrecht, Bruna’s home town. In Japan, the schoolgirls go crazy for the super-cute bunny with a kiss for lips, and all over the world toddlers snuggle up happily for another of her cosy, homely adventures.
After a career that has spanned 60 years, Miffy is more popular than ever. A new edition of Miffy books was published last year, with the rhyming text updated for a modern audience by award-winning poet Tony Mitton that maintains all the original charm.
Miffy herself has had a few tweaks over the years. In the 70s, her ears were very long and pointy, and her face was oval. Since then she has filled out a little to become rounder and a bit more cuddly, you might say. Like a toddler.
With her timeless appeal, it’s understandable that her loyal audience would crave their own little Miffy to love. And who better to make their dreams come true than master toymaker, Steiff, who have a long heritage and pedigree in producing high quality teddy bears and plush toys.
To celebrate the landmark occasion of Miffy’s 60th anniversary, Steiff is launching a limited edition Miffy. Perfect for collectors or toddlers with gentle manners, Miffy if fully jointed at five points (like Steiff’s signature teddy bears), with moveable arms, head and legs. She can adopt a variety of poses, including, mostly importantly, sitting down (preferably on a toddler’s loving lap) for storytime!
Crafted from pure white mohair that’s supersoft to stroke, Miffy has delicately hand-stitched facial features ensuring each one is unique. And in keeping with the sartorial style that Bruna developed, featuring a pallette reminiscent of his favourite artist Matisse, Miffy is wearing an adorable A-line dress with cute Peter Pan collar and special anniversary motif.
There’s also a limited edition 12 cm Miffy Keyring £85 (US$125, €99.90). Both products have the signature ‘button in ear’, or ‘Knopf im Ohr’, to authenticate its Steiff credentials.
Fun fact When Dick Bruna wrote the first book in 1955, Miffy was of undermined sex. It wasn’t until Bruna wrote Miffy’s Birthday in 1970 that he decided his bunny was a girl. Why? For purely aesthetic reasons: Bruna found a dress shape more pleasing than trousers!
Did you know? Before Dick Bruna became one of the world’s best loved picture book artists, he worked as a graphic designer for his father’s publishing firm AW Bruna & Zoon, designing distinctive book covers for detective novels.
Raring to see more cute rabbits? Hop to our 12 We Love… Bunnies feature.
Designer Details Founded in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, heritage German toy manufacturer Steiff introduced the first Teddy Bear to the toy market in 1902. Based on his drawing of bears at Frankfurt Zoo, Margarete’s nephew Richard created a grizzly bear with moveable arms and legs covered in mohair. In 1904, a round metal ear tag was added to protect Steiff from cheap imitations. One of the world’s first trademarks, the metal tag itself was also trademarked to ensure legal protection. To this day, Steiff toys wear a button in the ear, with the yellow labels indicating machine-washable, child-friendly favourites. And while the Teddy is the most famous of all Steiff creations, the company’s menagerie also extends from monkeys to kiwis and from key rings to Studio Animals that stand as tall as 250cm.