Dick Bruna, who died in 2017, is best known as the creator of the Miffy books. But there are many other gems from his huge back catalogue, including The little bird, which was first published in Holland in 1959.
My copy of The little bird is an early Methuen edition. It was given to me in 1967, along with a copy of Miffy in the snow. Both books are very battered and scribbled, but they’re still in one piece – thanks to the thicker paper and boards they used in those days.
You’ll notice the limited use of initial caps in both of these titles. I’ve learned from the Miffy website that Dick Bruna strived for simplicity in all aspects of his work. This included his small but vibrant palette of colours, the use of sans serif fonts, and a minimum of punctuation to interrupt the stories.
In the case of The little bird the story is still a very topical one, as the yellow bird struggles to find a safe and welcoming spot in which to build her nest.
In truth, it’s not the cheeriest of tales. On the bright side, we do get to meet various colourful characters from a farm, including this lovely red pig.
There’s an equally red-faced farmer, who probably wouldn’t be pictured with a pipe jammed in his mouth if this book was being produced in the 21st century.
Best of all is this cute black puppy, peering out from his cosy basket to inform the poor little bird that there’s ‘No room’.
Checking prices on Amazon, I was sorry to see that The little bird has a rating of just 1*. This was upsetting: who could fail to be charmed by any of the titles created by Dick Bruna during his prolific career?
It turns out that the Amazon customer had been sent the wrong book. So that rating is no reflection on the enduring appeal of The little bird.