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Dick Bruna was born in the Netherlandish city of Utrecht. He published 124 picture books that sold more than 85 million copies in more than 50 languages. His best-known volumes were those featuring Miffy, the white bunny. Over time, Miffy has become an iconic figure of childhood.

Bruna began drawing as a diversion during the German occupation of World War II. After the war, the illustrator apprenticed at the W.H. Smith bookstore in London and the Plon publishing company in Paris. After that, he studied at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam before joining his family’s firm.

Bruna distinguished himself designing book covers and posters before devoting himself to children’s writing full time. He created Miffy in 1955 after he and his young son encountered a playful rabbit during a seaside vacation.

Looking back on Miffy, Dick Bruna commented that he hoped she had sparked the imagination of young readers “to see things in their simplest form. So that life, with all its complications becomes a little clearer.”