Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
This is a wonderful book that explores the difficulties of communication with a pre-verbal child. A little girl named Trixie starts to cry when she loses her stuffed animal and grows frustrated when she can't explain to her father what has happened. Her father, who hadn't noticed that the bunny was missing, tries to calm her down by talking about other things, which frustrates the litttle girl even more.

The psychology of the book is very realistic and simple: this is exactly the kind of thing that happens to small children before they can talk, and the book written as much for the parents as it is for the kids. (My child points and smiles with satisfaction at the panel where the father realizes the mistake he's made, and Trixie has an I-told-you-so look on her face. For my part, I try not to lose things... ever! :-)

It's also nice that the book is set in an urban environment (Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY)... A book that shows a walk to the laundromat may be a welcome change of pace for parents who live in cities and wonder when the heck they are ever going to get the chance to see a bunch of barnyard animals...

In short, the appeal of this book is in understanding and validating the experience of children at a time in their lives when their voices are hard to hear. If you like "Knuffle Bunny," you might also want to search for the equally charming (but sadly out-of-print) "Hi!", written by Ann Herbert Scott, with pictures by Glo Coalson. That book is searching for as well. Both books may help you understand what it feels like to be so little and have it be so hard to get adults to understand you.
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146 of 169 people found the following review helpful
Okay, right off the bat I'm going to do a little exercise with you. Now, as you may or may not know, author Mo Willems based the name Knuffle Bunny after a Dutch term for something cute and cuddly. Therefore, the pronounciation of the title, according to him, should not be "nuffle" bunny but instead "k-nuffle" bunny. So let's all say it together, shall we? K-nuffle Bunny. K-nuffle Bunny. K-nuffle Bunny. Got it? Good. Because this book is so well written and so much fun that it deserves to be pronounced correctly when being read to screaming hoardes of children. Not since Willems' grandiose, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" (still my favorite read-aloud book of the century) has an author so perfectly attuned himself to the hopes, dreams, and fears of the toddlers and early readers of the world. This book is a fun fabulous romp.

Trixie and her pop are off to the local neighborhood Laundromat one bright and sunny day. They get there, load the clothes, and take off for home when little Trixie comes to an awful realization. Knuffle Bunny, her beloved favorite toy, is missing. Unfortunately for her, she has not yet learned to talk. After some valiant tries (my favorite being the single tearful "snurp") she feels she has no alternative but to burst into a full-blown tantrum. This doesn't make her father any happier and since he hasn't realized what the problem is, he takes her home as she kicks and screams. Once home, however, her mother quickly asks, "Where's Knuffle Bunny"? Back runs the whole family to the Laundromat where, at long last, the beloved bunny is recovered and Trixie says her first real words.

I haven't read any of the other reviews of this book yet, but I can already predict a potential objection to this tale. Some parents, and similarly ridiculous adults, feel that unless a temper tantrum is disciplined immediately within a book then it is sending a negative message to children everywhere. They feel that such books encourage children to engage in naughty behavior to get their way. This idea is, of course, hogwash. At least it is in this particular case. Trixie does engage in less than socially acceptable fits, but that's only because she lacks any other means of communication. Honestly, if she was endowed with a perfect 6500 word vocabulary she would not have a fit. It is obviously a last resort on her part. So to all of you who would object to such a book merely because a child in it acts like something less than an angel I say "pfui".

The construction of this book is very interesting. Mo Willems (according to secondhand sources) once said that he initially gave the pictures photographed backgrounds so as to make it easier on himself. However, he had a great deal of trouble lining up with drawn figures with the photographs so that they'd seem to be the same size. It's worth it though. This book is a kind of love story to Willems' own native Brooklyn and he's peppered the images in it with familiar landmarks here and there. If you live in the area then you won't be surprised to suddenly realize that "That's my Laundromat!". So that's nice. The human characters are as simplistic as the pigeon was in "Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus". Just big ole eyes and geometric forms. Still, there's something perfectly entrancing about the hairless Trixie. And I for one was very attached to the early picture of mom and dad standing before their home as infant Trixie hangs with arms and legs akimbo from the dad's carrying pack.

Kids love this book too. There are some wonderful ways to read it to them. For example, when Trixie, "went boneless" (and what parents amongst us haven't dealt with THAT once in a while?) have the kids in the audience do it too. They really get into the search and rescue aspects of the tale. And then of course there are the pictures. The lovely lovely pictures.

"Knuffle Bunny" has it all. A weird title to pronounce. A likable (in spite of her tantrum) main character. And a completely realistic situation placed against a true-to-life background. It's a story that will be beloved for years to come. A big round of applause for Mo Willems, ladies and gentlemen! He's written a great picture book that everyone can love.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
You have to buy this book just to see the illustration of a toddler going "boneless". I never realised that going floppy and refusing to stand up actually had a name! Gosh...I'm totally bamboozled by some of the negative review comments this book has received (thankfully in the minority). I love Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus but I think Knuffle Bunny is something really special. No.... there's no deep and meaningful plot or moral, just a pre-verbal toddler who loses her favourite toy and is unable to articulate this to her father. It is the fact that any parent or child can identify with this very common everyday occurrence that makes this book so appealing. The unusual marriage of real black and white photographs with the gorgeous cartoons make this a really striking book visually. So... if you would like a lovely, innocent, engaging book with a readily identifiable story line (and amazing illustrations), buy this book. If, however, you prefer childrens' books that have a complex plot/underlying moral etc. you may be disappointed.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2007
My name is Daniel Berrios and I am 7 years old. My English teacher read this book to us in class and I thought it was funny. My favorite part was when the dad is angry. I recommend this book for my family. I also like this book by Mo Willems: The Pigeon Has feelings Too. I hope you think it is cool.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
I also teach children to write personal narrative stories, and bought this book specifically to teach the craft of writing. When Trixie is upset about losing Knuffle Bunny, her "dialog" is unintelligible and her facial expressions tell the story of how upset she is, over several pages. What a great way to show young writers how an author can focus in on one small moment, tell its story in depth and detail, and use sound effects in the process! Further, the fact that the reader knows how upset Trixie is, without Trixie saying any intelligible words, demonstrates the importance of how pictures enhance and tell stories. Adorable illustrations added to a story to which all children can relate has me convinced that this book is bound to be a winner in my first grade class.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2004
This heartwarming, amusing book is sure to be as popular was Willem's Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog. Again, he presents a simple problem familiar to most children. While accompanying her daddy to the Laundromat, toddler Trixie loses her favorite stuffed animal, "Knuffle Bunny." She realizes her loss on the way home and frantically tries to tell her father the problem. Unfortunately, Trixie hasn't learned how to talk yet. The more she tries to communicate with her father, the more upset she becomes, as does her baffled and frustrated father. In an effort to help, observant readers are likely to shout out the obvious answer. The images of the two at this stage and when Trixie's mother immediately guesses the problem upon their arrival at home are hilarious, cartooning masterpieces. The same is true for the family's mad dash to fetch Knuffle Bunny and her father's lengthy hunt for it. When he finally finds it, Trixie says her first words: "Knuffle Bunny!!!" Williems' amazingly simple, but expressive cartoon characters set against sepia-toned photographic images of an urban neighborhood illuminate his appropriately sparse text.. Highly recommended for ages 1 to 4.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 22, 2006
I read this book to 3 and 4-year-olds at cirlce time and they LOVED it. We had to read it 3 times before going on to another activity (and they wanted me to read it again). We had to read it 2 more times at nap time. There's something about this book that kids just love. Plus, it's fun for adults to read and the illustrations are wonderful.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 25, 2006
We were all pretty excited about this new book. Awesome premise and love it when photographs and illustrations are melded together. I think we managed to read through this all of four times before my two-year-old daughter exclaimed, "Don't like it. Not being nice to daddy-doo."

Although we've explained in as many ways as we can think that the little girl doesn't have words yet to explain how she's feeling (that why she cries, kicks, etc.), our little one was unconvinced. "Don't like it. Baby yells."

All that aside, my husband and I loved the book. We've set it on our shelf for now and hope that she'll be up to revisiting the story in a few months. We'll see
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Every child has that special stuffed animal and fate will ALWAYS have it that it gets mislaid or lost at some point in the child's life. This is a book every child and every parent will identify with. The fear, the hysteria, the frantic searching, the rejoicing when reunited are all very familiar emotions. The look of the book is wonderful and original. I love the expressive faces of Trixie and her father. This is the book I will give to new babies and their parents, along with Goodnight Moon. This book is a "read it again" favorite to be sure.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on October 7, 2004
My daughter (and her best bear buddy Grubby) requested this book three times a day for weeks. The illustrations with their combination of photos and drawings fascinated her. And she found the near catastrophe of Knuffle Bunny riveting every time. For any child with a lovey (and every parent who's experienced the horror of losing the lovey) this book is a sure winner. Trixie's efforts to convince her Daddy that a catastrophe has happened are so real -- I laugh out loud every time she "goes boneless." Definitely a rival to DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS for favorite read aloud in our house.
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