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Literature / Miffy

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Miffy in her trademark short dress
Miffy (or in the original Dutch Nijntje (pronounced "nein-chu") shortened from "konijntje" which literally means "little rabbit") is a long running series of young children's books drawn by Dick Bruna starring the title character. First published in 1955, Miffy has sold over 85 million books worldwide in over 40 languages. Bruna retired in 2014 and the rights to Miffy are not being transferred. No more Miffy books will be written as Bruna stated that even after his death the rights were not to be sold. Bruna passed away on February 16, 2017.

There have been three television adaptations: a traditionally animated one, known as simply "Miffy" in 1992, a stop motion series called Miffy and Friends between 2003 and 2007, and another one in the same style as Miffy and Friends, called Miffy's Adventures Big and Small in 2015. A full length animated movie was released in cinemas in 2013.

Extremely popular in its home country, with dedicated shops and part of the Centraal Museum in Utrecht permanently dedicated to the franchise. There's even a section of the Rijksmuseum gift shop dedicated to Miffy merchandise (plush toys, books, etc...) that can't be purchased anywhere else.

This series provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution: Very gradual: the character design from 1955 is nearly the same as the one used in the last books. See here. The very early version is slightly different as at this point Miffy was supposed to be a stuffed toy rather than a "real" rabbit.
  • Bunnies for Cuteness: Miffy is a bunny. As you can see, she is very cute.
  • Crying Critters: The bunnies sometimes cry, with one of the books even being titled "Miffy is Crying".
  • Long Runner: Miffy celebrated her fiftieth birthday in 2005. The last book was released in 2011 for a fifty six year run.
  • No-Dialogue Episode: Miffy's Dream. The book version is a more straightforward example, while the Storybook Classics adaptation only has one line at the beginning, apart from the title name ("One night, Miffy had a dream").
  • No Name Given: Miffy’s parents and grandparents were not given a name in the books or other media.
  • The Perfectionist: Even though each book contains only 16 illustrations in a simple line style and sixty four lines of text, it took Bruna months to write and illustrate each one, and there have been less than thirty overall.
  • Status Quo Is God: Gradually subverted: new characters were occasionally introduced over the series run and in 1996 the series had a permanent change when the death of Miffy's grandmother was the subject of a book.
  • Title Theme Tune: Miffy! A sweet little bunny! Miffy! A smart little bunny! Miffy! A cute little bunny! Miffy, and Friends!
  • Vocal Dissonance: In the 2013 film, she's distractingly voiced by an adult female voice actor, instead of a child. Same case with the Dutch dub, although, unlike the English version, the actress who voices her attempts to sound like a child.