Thoroughly Modern Miffy: Dick Bruna's cartoon rabbit gets revamp after 58 years

The classic children’s book brand worth £150m is set for an update to appeal to new audience

She can certainly challenge for the title of the most popular rabbit in the world, despite some tough competition from Br’er, Peter, Roger and Bugs.

Fifty years after her first appearance in print in the UK, Miffy, whose series of books has sold more than 85 million copies worldwide, is to get the chance to charm a whole new audience.

The children’s division of publisher Simon & Schuster have announced that the young rabbit, created by Dutch artist Dick Bruna, will see a number of her books updated “to appeal to a modern British audience” with Bruna’s original rhyming verse to be revamped by award-winning poet Tony Mitton.

Miffy, Miffy at the Gallery and Miffy at the Zoo are the first titles chosen. They are scheduled for release in February 2014.

Miffy sprang into being in 1955, while Bruna was on holiday in the Dutch seaside village of Egmond An Zee. Every night Bruna would tell his son Sierk a story about a little white bunny that would scamper around the garden of the home they were staying in, with that rabbit becoming the inspiration for his most famous character. The books made it across to the UK eight years later.

The 86-year-old, whose love of art was cemented by hours spent drawing and painting when his family moved to a house in the Dutch countryside during the Second World War, still spends months at a time creating new Miffy books using a brush and poster paint.

Bruna has said that while he tries to keep the drawings simple, he spends a long time on Miffy’s mouth, making it seem either a little happy or a little sad depending on her feelings – despite the fact that it is only modest cross.

His fiercest critic, and normally his first editor, is his wife Irene, to whom he has been married for 60 years. When Bruna believes he has finished a new Miffy book, he lays it out for his wife to see.

He waits for the look on her face to see if she approves or not. He has said that during this time he is “always very nervous”.

Having been translated into more than 40 languages, the Miffy brand is reportedly worth upwards of £150m a year, with merchandising revenue also playing a part.

Dick Bruna at the opening of his exposition of Miffy creations Dick Bruna at the opening of his exposition of Miffy creations (AFP)
A film based on the character was released in the Netherlands this year, selling 100,000 tickets in the first month, and was subsequently released in Belgium, Japan and Australia. Simon & Schuster is looking to take advantage of Miffy’s success by also releasing a number of sticker activity books in conjunction with the new hardback books.

Meg Wang, who serves as editorial director of licensing at Simon & Schuster, said of the deal: “Generations of British children grew up with Miffy – and now  as parents, are introducing this loveable and iconic character to their own children.”

She added: “Dick Bruna’s stories explore the extraordinary wonder of everyday things in a child’s life – which have proven to be both timeless and universal.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Miffy to a wider audience in the UK.”

The publisher will also be releasing a new version of Bruna’s internationally best-selling nativity tale Christmas in October this year, to celebrate Miffy’s revamp.

The Utrecht-born artist and illustrator is in the middle of quite a resurgence, having already seen his first picture book, The Apple, republished by Tate Publishing this month, to celebrate its 60th anniversary.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

    Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary