Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale Book Poster Image
Hilarious tale of a toddler outing gone terribly wrong.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows kids what a trip to the Landromat is like.

Positive Messages
Sometimes people misunderstand each other, and it can make everyone unhappy. It's important to try to be clear -- and to make things right when misunderstandings happen.
 
Positive Role Models & Representations
Trixie's dad is cheerful and loving, enjoying his daughter's not-very-helpful "help" with the laundry. He tries earnestly to understand what she's upset about. He gives his everything to the search for Knuffle Bunny. And Trixie is certainly persistent.
 
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Knuffle Bunny is a charming book for all ages about a toddler named Trixie who loses her favorite toy bunny, but is so young she's not speaking yet so she can't tell her dad what happened. Knuffle Bunny is a Caldecott Honor book that spawned two sequels and even a musical. Readers young and old relate to Trixie and her family.
 

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What's the story?

Trixie totes her favorite stuffed bunny along on a trip to the Laundromat with her dad. On their way home, Trixie realizes Knuffle Bunny is gone! She's just a toddler and can't speak yet, so she does her best to explain the problem to her bewildered father. She babbles. She bawls. She goes boneless. By the time they get home, they're both very unhappy. But her mother immediately sees the problem: \"Where's Knuffle Bunny?\" The family races back to the Laundromat on a search-and-rescue mission. Trixie, thrilled to be reunited with her lovey, finally utters her first words: \"Knuffle Bunny!\"

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Is it any good?

KNUFFLE BUNNY earned Mo Willems his second straight Caldecott Honor and swiftly became a family classic. Inspired by a real-life misadventure with his own daughter, he understands just how serious it is when a favorite lovey is missing. His illustrations are infused with empathy and humor. His cartoon-style characters are drawn over black-and-white photographs of Trixie's neighborhood -- a distinctive look that showcases his gleeful artwork. There are treats on every page: Trixie cavorting in the laundry as she "helps," her frantically waving arms and floppy limbs as she goes "boneless," her father's herculean efforts to find Knuffle Bunny. Trixie's increasingly desperate attempts to communicate and her father's increasing exasperation with her seeming unreasonableness will resonate with both children and parents. And Willems' sweet story will delight both. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Trixie's expressions, and how they help her communicate even though she can't yet speak. Point out her different facial expressions and see if you and your child can imitate some of them.
  • Read the book again, this time focusing on the details. Look for Knuffle Bunny and find where he gets lost. Find the cameo of Pigeon from Mo Willems' popular series that began with Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus.
  • How does Knuffle Bunny mix funny moments and sad moments? How do you feel when you lose one of your favorite things?

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