Christmas Gift Ideas – Dick Bruna’s Christmas Book

Dick Bruna’s Christmas book has been republished as a golden anniversary edition by Simon and Schuster. We received a copy to review and love it – read on for more!

Dick Bruna's Christmas

Dick Bruna’s Christmas book was first published in 1963 and is a classic Bruna book – he being the creator of Miffy, having his distinctive style of drawing.

Right now the book is perfect for us – H is learning about the nativity at school, and this book tells the story in an uncomplicated way. As she isn’t reading properly yet I read it to her, and she now understands a little better what it’s all about. They’re doing a school Christmas service soon and she’s quite enjoyed knowing what happened when Jesus was born. I’d say this book is ideal for youngsters in explaining the story and why Christmas exists.

A cute little addition is a bookmark in the shape of an angel – as unlike other Bruna books this is a long one so may need bookmarking. It’s also worth noting, this is the first edition by Simon & Schuster who announced they’d be re-translating the Miffy books for a big relaunch next year – the text in here is the english translation from 1995.

Dick Bruna's Christmas

I asked H what she liked the best about the book – she says the best thing was finding out Jesus’ mummy and daddy’s name, aw! For me, we’ve sat and really gone into the story, and I’m still not able to answer her why Jesus was given myrrh! It’s nice to sit and read the story together, we’re not religious and haven’t really done much along these lines, so it’s helping me too.

Dick Bruna’s Christmas book is available now with a rrp of £10. It’s currently £5.75 at Amazon, so worth getting while it’s at that price!

We were sent a copy of the book for review, all opinions are our own. This post contains an affiliate link.

Dick Bruna Books Reprinted at The Tate Bookstore

There are some Dick Bruna books being reprinted and made available at the Tate Bookstore right now. We placed an order and they arrived today – you can never have too many Dick Bruna books in your collection!

dick bruna books 2013 reprints

We love all the Dick Bruna books, he’s been one of my favourite authors since I was a little girl and is now one of H’s. She also has a far better Dick Bruna collection than I ever had.

If you head online to the Tate Bookshop you’ll find some editions of the books which haven’t been available in a long time – there’s a book ‘The Apple’ which was the first Dick Bruna book, originally produced in 1959, translated in 1995 and pretty much unavailable since then.

The Tate is doing a 3 for 2 deal so I picked up two other books we didn’t have – ‘The School’ and ‘On My Scooter’.

They’re all such gorgeous books, if you know the Miffy books it’s more of the same – from a time when things felt much more innocent and simple. I’m loving ‘The School’ for the rhymes about a day at school and what they do (and the teacher telling them to ‘listen to what I say!’). ‘On My Scooter’ has a child getting some veg for Pete the Donkey – this only dates back to 2010, but is a 2013 reprint. ‘The School’ is 1964. You can tell which books are older based on the font used as their title.

‘The Apple’ is a short story about an apple that wishes it had legs. The rooster shows concern, and ends up taking the apple for a fly around instead, which cheers up the apple immensely.

For me, these books are likely to be some of the first ones H will read properly as she’s taught at school. She knows a few words now and I love the simplicity of these books with the gorgeous illustrations. If you like Miffy books, head over to the Tate online too. Suitable for all ages, we love Dick Bruna books – from H at almost four to me at 43!

Pocket Money – What Do You Do?

Pocket money is one of those things which will creep up on us all before we know it. We’ve been tackling it early but keeping it simple.

Pocket money, oh joy. H isn’t even four yet and we’ve been doing it for a year or so now – last year we were one of the finalists in a money saving competition and over the year we’ve done lots of 5p tasks, putting the money into her moneybox as we go.

pocket money box

The tooth fairy paid a visit recently and bumped up the amount to a much higher one (okay, just £1 but in H terms that’s like a million pounds) – and we’ve not been as good at assigning 5p tasks as we should be.

Locally we’ve a shop, Calladoodles which I’m going to post a feature on soon – it’s a lovely shop with gorgeous handmade things on sale and we’re in there most weeks. They’ve just opened a mail order site and need to be checked out – I could spend so much in there. They stock Miffy things (we love Miffy in our house) as well as Cath Kidston and Orla Kiely… yum.

The last time we were in, H spotted a bracelet she liked so we decided we’d count her pennies and if she had enough we could spend them in there – and as of this morning she has enough. My little girl will have a little purse with her savings in, and will spend it on something she really wants – I’m a bit excited!

We’ve kept it simple as well, while this isn’t pocket money it won’t be long before she’s asking for some. So what is the right amount for an almost four year old starting school in just over a month? I’m thinking 50p a week with anything extra being things she’s earned (at 5p a time). I want her to have some money sense and ideally add the savings to her bank account – what do you do?

App Time – Miffy in the Snow

It’s no secret I love Miffy – I grew up with the books in the seventies (how I wish we’d kept them) and given Miffy is still going strong I knew it’d be something I’d bring H up to love too. The books never seem to date at all – the colours are simple and the messages are always positive ones (Miffy is Naughty, the most current book being the exception).

We’ve missed a few of the iPad apps so far, but today spotted that Miffy in the Snow has recently been released and what with the weather being the way it is outside, I figured what better an app to buy?

Miffy in the Snow

It’s great too! There’s enough on there that’s good fun – you have the story read to you, complete with interactive sections – as well as this three people can record the story so you can have it read to you in different voices (I love this option for these kinds of apps), and finally there’s a games section – matching pairs and knock the hat off the snowman, plus a chance to make a card (though no obvious save option – I took a screengrab instead). As the games progress they get a little bit more difficult – I liked that with the snowman game you need a good hand-eye co-ordination for it to knock the hat off, which made H concentrate a little harder. The matching pairs was also interesting – she’d work on each colour to clear them rather than individual items. Mid-way through the story she skipped a couple of pages, and you’re able to go back a page by viewing the menu at the top (press the flower).

Miffy in the Snow - interactive part

The app is available in English or Dutch and costs £2.99 from the App Store which isn’t cheap, but I think there’s enough on there for H to do as she starts to learn to read more words, and don’t object to paying it. If you’re a Miffy fan too, you’ll probably find there’s enough in there to keep a young one entertained!

H's Miffy in the Snow Card
H’s Miffy in the Snow Card

Buy miffy in the snow at the App Store.

App Time at Mum Friendly

We Love Books – Dick Bruna

A Miffy/Dick Bruna collection set to get biggerFrom the moment I knew I was having a baby I started buying Miffy books. There’s some traditions which have to be repeated, and Miffy is one of them. My mum and dad went to Holland in the last ten years or so, and my dad bought me something Miffy related – he lost it, but the one thing I’ll remember him saying in relation to it was “you always loved Miffy when you were little” – and he’s right, I did.

The first Miffy book was written back in 1955 by Dick Bruna. Obviously Dick Bruna is now so much more better known and has his own museum in Utrecht (next year’s holiday, maybe…?) but back then who could have predicted that Miffy would be so universally loved, translated and still available for children to read?

Miffy the Ghost

There’s so many books to choose from – with only a handful still in print, though a lot can be bought at a reasonable price in second-hand stores or online.

There’s only one Miffy book I find difficult to read. ‘Dear Grandma Bunny’ – which deals with Grandma Bunny’s death (a feature on books about death will happen when I can get through one of the books without crying) – but only because it deals with death and it’s something H will experience at some point. I got this while pregnant and made it to page two before I had to close it in floods of tears – be warned. Though the cover gives you a good enough idea.

Dear Grandma Bunny - Miffy

Other than that, there’s so many Miffy books to choose from. The Book People had a box set of fifteen or sixteen books you could get at a bargain price, but I just missed out so bought them all individually – then started to collect further Dick Bruna books – so now we have a few Boris and Barbara ones, Poppy Pig and some learning books, as well as some based on the tv series that we’ve picked up at car boot sales.

Miffy - I Know My Shapes

I recommended ‘Miffy and the New Baby’ to a friend yesterday, as she felt a lot of the baby books out there at the moment start with the elder child resentful of the new addition  – which in Miffy world just does not happen. Almost every book has a positive slant (there’s always exceptions); in this book Miffy is shouting hurrah, drawing the new baby a picture and looking forward to meeting it, then showering it with cuddles, and it’s all very nice and positive.

Miffy and the New Baby

The latest addition to the Miffy library hasn’t yet received an English translation – Nijntje is Stout (Miffy is Naughty) – she steals a sweet! Then feels huge guilt at her terrible deed and confesses all, so even when Miffy is bad she’s quite good really. Kind of…

Nijntje is stout

There’s also the very cute small Miffy’s Birthday Book which has a simple story/rhyme about a birthday, which we’ve given as a gift a few times to H’s friends – it’s small and cute and you can even write the name of the recipient in the front. It’s also a lot smaller than the regular Miffy books and it’s a different story to ‘Miffy’s Birthday’ too.

Happy Birthday From Miffy

 There are also some different books – Miffy The Artist was released in conjunction with the Tate in 2008 and is a story about Miffy discovering art. You can usually pick this one up quite cheaply on Amazon and Ebay.

There’s a Miffy at the Zoo pop-up book which was another I bought before H was born. It was actually for her cousin, but he already had it, so we kept it.

Miffy at the Zoo

The thing which stands out the most for me with all these books is Dick Bruna’s wonderful pictures, and use of simple colours and fonts. There’s a shop in York which sells Dick Bruna artwork postcards – every time I go back I pick up a handful, put them in a picture frame (a nice colourful Ikea one) and make a picture for H’s bedroom. I love the simplicity.

H's room

Of course, Miffy is more than just books now – we’ve got a tabard, t-shirts, jingly ball toys, a Miffy and a Stuffy the dog toy or two… it’s never-ending – though not as in-your-face as some other toys out there.

Miffy Tabard

We love what Dick Bruna has created, so just wanted to do a little Miffy tribute.
Thank you Dick Bruna, from a mother and her daughter, both growing up with your creations.

We Love Books at Mum Friendly