Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Apple (60th Anniversary Reprint) by Dick Bruna (Tate Publishing)

"Good grief, 60 years old!? Are you kidding me?"

That was my reaction when I read through the press release for the re-issue of Dick Bruna's first book. Mr Bruna may well be famous for his timeless and brilliant children's character Miffy (who is still very much loved today), but this is the book that started it all, and defined Dick's trademark illustrative and writing style - a style much copied and much admired ever since.

So back in 1959 when the average children's book looked a bit like this...

1950s ABC Book
Dick Bruna, a freelance graphic designer working for his father's company in Amsterdam, came up with The Apple, and a pared down bold art style that publishers at first thought no one would be interested in at all.

Children, however, took to Dick's books immediately and with this simple story of an apple who is sad because he doesn't have any legs or ways to move, redefined the way children's books were perceived and produced something that felt aeons ahead of its time (this is the main reason I felt surprised that the book had been around for 60 years - the look and feel of the book ties in with books I remember from my childhood in the 1970s).

So the Apple is sad and a little lonely in this story, but soon he befriends a cockerel weather-vane. As night fall, the two embark on an adventure of discovery as they fly together through the night, with apple nestling on cockerel's back. They meet many creatures on their travels, and soon Apple realises that not only has he made an amazing friend, he's never going to feel stuck in one place ever again.

Of course, as they say, the rest is history. Dick's books have been reprinted many many times, and generation after generation have enjoyed them. More reprints are on the way but in the meantime, if you've never read a Dick Bruna Book, definitely start with the one that kicked it all off and changed children's books forever.

Charlotte's best bit: She loved the Apple's expressions, and the pared down art style ("Just like Miffy" she said - before she even knew it was the same person who'd written and drawn the miffy books)

Daddy's favourite bit: A pleasant surprise to find how old the book was, and how important Dick Bruna is in the realm of children's books. Stunning and groundbreaking stuff that heavily influenced kid's books for years to come.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Tate Publishing)

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