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I have a Dutch friend who lives in Holland and whenever she comes to visit she always brings the kids a little something. She likes to buy Dutch ( we get a pack of Tupils every time, it's great, our garden looks wonderful) so this is how we ended up with a few Miffy books.
For those of you who are not familiar with Miffy, to quote an article, "Miffy is a small female rabbit in a series of picture books drawn and written by Dutch artistDick Bruna. The original Dutch name, Nijntje, is a shortening or diminutive of konijntje, "little rabbit. The first Miffy book was produced in 1955, and almost 30 others have followed. In total they have sold over 85 million copies, and inspired two separate television series as well as items such as clothes and toys featuring the character."
These books are great for quite small children as they have really simple but fun stories, are quite short so to keep the attention of a little one and also have lots of pictures and bright colours. In this story Miffy goes to the seaside and does all the things little kids love to do at the beach. She puts on her swimsuit, plays with a bucket and spade, finds some shells and takes a paddle in the sea.
I think the beauty about Miffy books is their simplicity. Miffy is a simply drawn rabbit as she is just white with not many features but she is instantly recognisable. In this book, the left hand page has some text and then the right hand page has an illustration about the text. The drawing is simple, for example when she has found some shells the drawing is just a collection of abstract shells coloured blue and orange, green and white, solid green, solid blue and solid orange, however it is a striking picture and very effective and its fun for me to be able to show my kids what shells look like.
The text is black and bold and easy to read and will be a great book when it comes time for my little three year old to start reading and recognising words. At the front of the book there is a spot to write your name as it says, "this book belongs to........." and its here my friend has signed it with the name of my kids. My friend got the English version of the book thankfully as I dan't read or speak Dutch and it is published by Egmont books and costs £4.99 in hardback.
The Miffy series of books have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity of late, as the generation that first enjoyed the books as kids back in the 80's buy up the books and toys for their own children to enjoy. The books have a great deal of meaning to me personally, as these were the books that I used to read over and over again as a very small child, and when I was allowed to have a pet rabbit for my 4th birthday, of course, I named it Miffy. The books instilled in me a love of reading that continues to this day.
For anyone who has never seen these books before, Miffy, or Nijntje in her original language, is a character created by the Dutch author Dick Bruna back in 1955, spawning a series of 30 books, as well as additional spin off books featuring characters that feature in the books, such as Boris Bear and Poppy Pig. The illustrations in the books are very appealing to young children, as the design of the Miffy character is very simple and basic, with bold primary colours for the backgrounds of the pictures, which have a very childlike quality, although my feeble attempts to copy them are usually pretty poor! Miffy is a young rabbit, who I always imagine her to be roughly equivalent to a child aged about 6 or 7. The books would mainly appeal to kids between 4 and 8, although I bought mine for my son when he was a baby, and I loved reading them to him, as the pictures and rhyming text are ideal fare for young babies.
The books usually feature a short rhyming story about Miffy doing everyday activities, such as visiting the park or zoo. The one I am reviewing is about Miffy visiting the seaside with her Dad. Most of the scenarios in the books are ones that young children can relate to.
The books are not particularly long at only 28 pages, so only take a couple of minutes to read. The format of each book is text on the left hand page and a bold picture on the right hand page. The version of the book that I read back in the 80's didn't rhyme, but I think that the text must have been revised in more recent years so that it would seem more appealing, although I must admit there are more than a few dodgy rhymes in there that don't quite work, for example:
"Me, me said Miffy, that is great
hurrah, I'll go as well
and I shall take my bucket too
in case I find some shells."
Don't worry though, the kids love it, and as long as you are sitting cuddled up to your child, reading to it in a nice gentle voice, I don't think that they will be too critical of the shortcomings in the text!
It is easy for the child to see what is going on in the pictures, and that in turn, gives lots of scope for conversation and discussion about the story. In one picture, you can make out the little stripty beach tents behind the sand dunes, and get your first glimpse of the blue sea. In another picture you can see all the cloured shells that miffy has collected, which can start a discussion about colours and you can ask the child which one they like best. We also see Miffy building a sandcastle, which, lets face it, everyone loves to do!
Miffy at the seaside is a lovely kids book, but I would also recommend all of the books in this series, as I think every home should have at least one Miffy book on the shelf. I like the way that the book is laid out, which makes it very easy to read and follow, and set the child on it's first steps to independent reading skills. This is one that my kids want to read over and over again.
This little hardback book is part of a series of books aimed at very young children featuring the iconic bunny rabbit, Miffy. Miffy is actually quite a very well-established character with this particular book first written in the 1960s by Dutch author and illustrator, Dick Bruna, and subsequently translated into English and many other languages.
Although I'm familiar with the Miffy character and have seen some of the programmes and merchandise available, I don't personally have any nostalgic connection with the character. This wasn't a series of books that I personally enjoyed or even came across as a child myself.
Miffy at the Seaside is the only book in the series that we own and my son actually received it as a Christmas present from his nursery when he was around 18 months old. Despite this being a fairly age appropriate book, it didn't really capture his attention at the time (and, I must admit, it wasn't a book that I particularly enjoyed reading) so it ended up sitting at the back of the bookcase.
Now my son is three years old, we have recently rediscovered this cute little book. The book is a nice size for toddlers and I do like the minimalistic style in which Miffy and other items are drawn as well as the bold, primary colours used. The book is simply laid out with a small verse of rhyming text on the left hand page and a simple uncluttered image on the right. Despite this, I'm still not particularly enamoured with the story, in all honesty.
This particular book centres around Miffy having a day out at the seaside with her Dad. I do like the fact that the Dad is the main parent within this story (no mention of Mummy) as so many contemporary children's stories either make no mention of a father whatsoever or go over the top with slightly nauseating 'How much I love my Daddy' themes! In this book, it is just taken as a natural event that Miffy happens to go out for the day with her Dad.
The story covers in very simple language and pictoral representation several of the traditional seaside activities so we have Miffy going swimming, building sandcastles and collecting shells. Despite the simplicity of the images, my three year old was confused by the image of the vehicle that Miffy is transported to and from the seaside in and had to ask what it was. (It was some sort of yellow wooden truck so not really a familiar object.)
I normally love reading children's books that are written in rhyme as it automatically provides a rhythm and gives the book a certain amount of life and excitement. This book lacks the pleasure of reading rhyming texts written by the likes of Dr Seuss and Julia Donaldson, for example. At times, the rhyme seems quite stilted and it is actually quite difficult to read the text and ensure that it does actually rhyme because the words don't necessarily flow easily. I can only presume that this is a consequence of the book being translated into English from its original Dutch text.
Despite my ambivalence towards this harmless little story, my son does appear to enjoy it and, at just 28 pages with very little text on each page, it is a relatively short read so no real hardship for me to read.
The full retail price of this book and the others in the series is £3.99 which seems pretty expensive for a little book such as this. Used copies can be picked up from 1p (plus postage) from Amazon Marketplace though.
With the weather getting hotter every day, a Miffy book about Miffy at the seaside is of course the one you want to read to your child! I borrowed this book from the local library and read it to my girl yesterday, hope you like my review!
**About Dick Bruna**
Miffy was born in the Netherlands, and Dick Bruna is the illustrator who created her. Miffy is known for her sweet character and her long, white ears. Illustrator Dick Bruna started drawing in 1940 and after several years he started to draw Miffy. In the beginning, Miffy mainly was famous in Holland, but nowadays she is famous worldwide. There are all sorts of Miffy books for sale, about a wide range of themes. For example about gardening, about going on holiday, going to school and shopping. These are all interesting subjects for small children. The books about Miffy are known for its simple drawings and the few colours used. The stories are mainly written in poem form.
**General information about this book**
Author; Dick Bruna
Price new; 4,99 Pounds (Amazon.co.uk)
Year of publication;2003 (in the UK)
Publisher; Egmont Books Lmt.
Age; 0-3 years
In this Miffy book, the little white rabbit is going to visit the beach with her dad. Every page contains text in rhyme form and an illustration next to it that it showing the situation described in the text. The colors used in this Bruna book are mainly orange and yellow but there is some green and dark blue used as well (just not as much as in most Miffy books).
Miffy and her dad go to the beach and Miffy is in a little wooden cart that is pulled by her dad. She brought along a shovel and a bucket to play with on the beach. When Miffy and her dad arrive at the seaside, they see a big orange/white striped tent and they decide to stay near to that tent. Miffy changes into her swimming gear, a cute little orange swimming pants. Miffy's dad tells her she can now start making a big sand castle. You see Miffy disappearing behind a pile of sand, while working hard to build a sand castle. After finishing the sand castle she gets her bucket and starts collecting shells that are lying around on the beach. An illustration of a few shells is drawn. When Miffy is done collecting shells, she goes out to take a swim. Dad is joining her and they are splashing water in each other's faces. After the swimming, it is time to go home. Miffy tells her dad, she isn't tired, but the final page shows an illustration with Miffy sleeping in the wooden cart, while being pulled back home by her daddy.
If you are planning on going to the beach, this book is great to read from and to prepare your child for what lies ahead. Besides that, the book is pretty adventurous and has many activities that can be interesting for kids to now about (looking for shells, building a sand castle). This books main colour is yellow, and I have to say although it isn't my favorite colour, it is the right colour for a book about beach and sand!