Willems, Mo. 2004. Knuffle Bunny. New York, NY: Hyperion Books. ISBN 0786818700.
Knuffle Bunny is the story of Trixie, a young girl who is not yet vocal, and her favorite stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny. Trixie accompanies her father to the laundromat where they accidentally leave behind the toy. It isn’t until several blocks away that Trixie realizes the mistake but is unable to articulate her concern to her father. Trixie is miserable and in turn makes her father miserable as they trek home. Upon arriving home, Trixie’s mother immediately notices Knuffle Bunny’s absence and the hunt is on to find the missing stuffed animal. When the family finds it, Trixie speaks her first words: Knuffle Bunny.
The story takes place in a present day, urban neighborhood. This is important because the family doesn’t have laundry facilities in their building and must walk several blocks to the laundromat. The story is relatable because the reader whether it is a parent of child has most likely had a favorite toy. Perhaps the reader thinks of their favorite toy growing up or the favorite toy of their child currently.
The story is cute and leaves an impression on the reader without having a preachy, overpowering theme. Knuffle Bunny is just a simple, cute story about about sentimental value and communication. The illustrations in this book are interesting and eye catching because it mixes illustrations of the people with actual images from real places. The setting images are black and white while the images of Trixie and her parents are in color. This adds some visual interest to the otherwise short and simple tale.
Knuffle Bunny is my all time favorite children’s book. When I started my career in education I worked as an assistant in an early childhood classroom. This book and nearly every other book by Mo Willems was loved by my students. Day after day during story time my students would request this book and it never got old. As soon as my husband and I found out we were expecting our son, I bought this book. When we discovered he had the ability to hear in the womb, I read this story to him over and over again. I hope it quickly becomes a favorite of his as well.
AWARDS AND REVIEW EXCERPT(S):
Awards: Caldecott Honor Book, BCCB Blue Ribbon Picture Book, and New York Times Bestseller
“The concise, deftly told narrative becomes the perfect springboard for the pictures. They, in turn, augment the story’s emotional acuity. Printed on olive-green backdrops, the illustrations are a combination of muted, sepia-toned photographs upon which bright cartoon drawings of people have been superimposed. Personalities are artfully created so that both parents and children will recognize themselves within these pages. A seamless and supremely satisfying presentation of art and text.” – School Library Journal
An unassuming little masterpiece…the book’s power lies in its rich, allusive artistry.” –New York Times Book Review
“Even children who can already talk a blue streak will come away satisfied that their own strong emotions have been mirrored and legitimized, and readers of all ages will recognize the agonizing frustration of a little girl who knows far more than she can articulate.” – Booklist
Other popular children’s books by Mo Willems:
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! ISBN 0786818697.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. ISBN 1423145143.
Website for Mo’s Pigeon character: http://www.pigeonpresents.com/