Knuffle Bunny

knuffle bunny book cover

Written by: Mo Willems

 

Illustrated by: Mo Willems

 

Age Range: 3 and up

 

Publisher: Hyperion

 

ISBN: 0-7868-1870-0

 

Awards: Caldecott Honor

Rundown

“Knuffle Bunny” is a story about a father and his young daughter, Trixie, on an adventure to the laundromat. Trixie has a bunny stuffed animal named Knuffle that she adores, which she brings along on their journey. Once they arrive, Trixie “helps” her father put their laundry into the washing machine.

On their way home, Trixie realizes she doesn’t have Knuffle bunny. She tries to tell her father, but she’s a toddler so everything she says is gibberish. Unable to communicate that her bunny is missing to her father, she gets very upset.

When Trixie and her father arrive home, her mother asks where Knuffle bunny is. They all run back to the laundromat and eventually find Knuffle bunny.

The story ends with Trixie saying “Knuffle bunny!” which are her first words.

Critique

The illustrations overall are intriguing and unique. The book combines black and white images of real places in Brooklyn with illustrated people. It’s a fascinating concept and really worked well in the story.

Trixie went boneless when trying to demonstrate how upset she was. My son does this and it made me smile. I can totally relate to it.

Acknowledgement of how difficult it is to express how you’re feeling when you’re a toddler. Non-verbal frustration is a very real thing. It’s easy for parents (me included for sure!) to forget this and lose compassion for our kids during meltdowns.

I get it, parents, I really do. It’s tough to stay patient and kind when your kid is absolutely losing it for seemingly no reason. All I’m saying here is there’s another side of that coin. It’s got to be so frustrating for kids when they don’t know how to express how they feel. The book did a nice job of demonstrating this.

The story has a lot of toddler gibberish in it, but the ending showed why. The book has a bit too much gibberish in my opinion, but I was glad to see there was a reason for it.

The dad in the story didn’t do a great job of attempting to diagnose why his child was upset. Now, in many ways I have a lot in common with the father on that one, I do think the book could have had the father try a little harder in that regard. He didn’t even ask his child what was wrong. The book, in a way, made the toddler seem more intelligent than the father.

Re-read Value

Here’s the metric I use: When you’re a parent and your child asks to read this book 3 or more days in a row, how likely are you to want to jump head first through a wall?

It’s an entertaining book that most kids can identify with. Almost all of us have misplaced a stuffed animal at one point or another. I remember when my daughter misplaced Brambley Bear. He was missing for over a week and it really did impact her in a negative way. When we finally found Brambley there was much rejoicing.

I don’t mind re-reading this story. The book holds the attention of my children and it doesn’t seem to reinforce any negative behaviors.

Final Thoughts

Your kids will probably enjoy the book more than you will. That’s not to say that you won’t enjoy it too, of course. It’s a fun, easy read. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

You can find more children’s book reviews and some of my own short stories on the site. Enjoy!