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on September 28, 2010
I wasn't aware, before picking up my copy of Knuffle Bunny Free today, that author/illustrator Mo Willems had announced that this will be Knuffle Bunny's last adventure with Trixie. While I can't say I'm thrilled will his decision (it's like a favorite TV show getting cancelled!), I have to admit the man sends Knuffle Bunny out in style. In fact, Willems could not have crafted a more perfect - or perfectly wonderful - final chapter. Hands down, Knuffle Bunny Free is my favorite of the three books.

Willems has once again taken a situation countless families have experienced - a beloved toy accidentally left behind (this time on a plane) - and around that situation has built a touching and delightful look at a child growing up. Trixie's happiness as she is able to come to grips with missing Knuffle Bunny by thinking about all the kids he is meeting as he travels without her and about how happy he is making those kids is my very favorite moment in a book full of great moments. I felt all warm and happy and satisfied when I closed the cover (don't you LOVE that feeling?), and I knew Knuffle Bunny Free was going to be a permanent part of my collection.

The signature Knuffle Bunny style of incorporating Willems' drawings into photo backgrounds works particularly well in this book as Trixie and Knuffle Bunny travel to exotic locales and enjoy the local sites. A number of Willems' other characters make non-speaking cameo appearances - kids familiar with his work will enjoy spotting them.

Without giving any spoilers, my guess is that some people will be unhappy with this final book in the series. My feelings, though, are that the three books create a complete whole and wonderfully - and very successfully - portray various emotional stages of a growing child. (Note: If you haven't read Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, I strongly suggest reading them before reading Knuffle Bunny Free. IMHO, doing so will greatly enhance your enjoyment of this last entry in an already classic series.) When I feel the time is appropriate, I look forward to sharing this book with each of my grandchildren in turn. Along with me, they've thoroughly enjoyed the previous adventures of Knuffle Bunny and I'm confidant they'll understand and love Knuffle Bunny Free as well.

Very highly recommended.
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on September 29, 2010
This was as beautifully illustrated and as compelling as the previous Knuffle Bunnies. We eagerly awaited publication, and the book arrived from Amazon today. But neither my six year old nor I was ready for the ending. Developmentally she cannot imagine saying goodbye to such a beloved toy yet, and was so sad that Trixie did. She thought about it quietly for a while and then over dinner announced that she did not like the book because it is sad. I imagine we'll come back to it a few developmental stages hence (for both of us. I am not ready to "be in the bleachers" as Mo Willems mentioned in an interview) and enjoy it. In the meantime the 2nd book is exactly where she wants to be and will continue to be in the regular book rotation.
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on November 4, 2010
I couldn't wait for this book to come out. I finally just got it from the library. I couldn't even wait to get home to read it to my daughter. We read it sitting in the car in the parking lot of the library. BIG MISTAKE. I cried through about 2/3 of the book. My daughter loved it and thought it was nice (she's 3, so that's her developmental reference). I loved it, too, but it's hard to think about getting to that point in our lives.
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on September 30, 2010
And I'm not entirely convinced this one really happened, either. The ending is a bit contrived - but who knows?

I'm putting a spoiler warning on this, and unfortunately most of the review needs it, so be aware if you read on (and care):

Trixie and her family are going to Holland (where they say the K in Knuffle!) to visit her grandparents. Naturally, Trixie loses her Knuffle Bunny on the plane. How does she keep doing this? You'd think that by now she'd know better than to leave her bunny everywhere! Well, she was asleep, so I guess the real question is how her parents let it happen this time. At any rate, she loses her bunny, and there's no going back. The plane? Is headed to China.

And no, nobody is going to chase off to China to get a stuffed toy. There are limits. Oh, her family hugs her and kisses her and reassures her about what a big girl she's getting to be, and she KNOWS she's getting to be a big girl, but that doesn't make her feel any better.

And she has a fun trip, but that doesn't make her feel any better, and her grandparents even try replacing her toy with a fancy bunny, but that really doesn't make her feel any better.

Eventually, though, she comes to terms with this with a nice dream about other children playing with her bunny, and that helps. (This is on two fold-out pages. How much you enjoy this probably depends on whether this book is for home use (easy to manage) or classroom/library use (disaster!!!), but either way I suggest you use acid-free tape if you plan to save the book for generations.)

However, after she's had her big moment and her growing-up stage, she goes on the plane, which is the EXACT SAME PLANE and sits in the EXACT SAME SEAT and finds - her bunny! OMG! (So... they didn't clean this plane for, like, a week? Two weeks? Ew.)

And now she's such a big girl she's able to give her bunny to the crying baby to cheer him up. (Why couldn't she just LEND the bunny? Big girl, but realistic.)


It's a good book, but as others have noted - a kid who's not yet in the age range where they can start giving up their precious toys? They're not going to get it. It won't be bittersweet, it'll just be sad, pointlessly sad. If they ARE in the right age it'll make PERFECT sense, but please - use your best judgment, as always.
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on October 21, 2010

I do not understand why so many people do not like the ending of this book. First of all, my daughter was not sad that Trixie gave Knuffle Bunny away--she thought that was a very nice thing to do. The story teaches a value in giving that I hope my daughter learns! I also do not think it is far fetched that Trixie gave up the bunny. She had already had a dream about Knuffle Bunny helping other people. I think people would be surprised--there ARE giving children out there.

The ending of Trixie growing up and having her own child receive a Knuffle Bunny from her Grandpa had me bawling. What a great ending to a wonderful little series!
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on November 10, 2010
My son and I are great fans of Mo Willems for good reason. His books never fail to impress. This third and grand finale to his "Knuffle Bunny" books is better than ever. We get to see Trixie grow up up (as a mom, I got a little teary-eyed). I highly recommend this book to anyone with a young child (or anyone young-at-heart in general). We had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Willems at a book-signing and I have to say, the man is just as entertaining and wonderful as his books are. His books will remain a part of our collection permanently.
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on August 9, 2012
I loved all MO Willum's book, but this one is the BEST! I didn't expect the ending and was suprised when I got choked up. Oh yes, and my grandson liked it too. It's amazing when both parent and child can both be affected by a book. Not only is this one in all my grandchildren's library, but mine as well. You go MO!
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on May 14, 2012
We borrowed Knuffle Bunny Too from the library and LOVE it so much we decided to get all three for ourselves. This book was great but it made me cry. It's amazing that this is the book my daughter wants me to read first at night because "it makes you cry Mommy". Regardless of the crying it's an excellent book and even though my daughter isn't ready to give her Bunny up, (neither am I), she still enjoys the story.
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on December 8, 2015
I hate this book soooooooooo much. I borrowed it from the library for my daughter who LOVES her stuffed bunny. She really didn't like the Edwina the dinosaur book but likes the piggie and elephant series so I thought I'd give this a shot.

That was two months ago and EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since I've taken this book home, I have to read it to her at night before going to sleep. She knows EVERY single word and every single picture in this book. I got so sick of reading this day after day that sometimes I make my wife read it but even she says "oh no, I'm not reading that book again..."

We've probably read it for naps, bedtime, sometimes randomly... a MILLION times. She holds onto her bunny dearly as she says "but but.. I don't want to give away MY bunny yet...." and points out everything on every page... each picture and facial expressions are brilliantly done... we talk about going on trips and visiting grandparents and carnivals and being brave and missing something you hold dear and China and writing letters and growing up and having your own baby and getting a package... all of which are in this book.


But it's my daughter's, in her words, "my best best best best favorite favorite favorite favorite book ever...."
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on March 23, 2012
Our 5 year old still has her beloved Monkey, but it helped her when she lost a my little pony. She imagined the pony still in our home running around from room to room--the now elusive pony--which she will never find. I agree that finding the bunny in the back of the plane seat pocket on the exact same plane, same seat is a far stretch, but it complete captures a child's psyche--not a grown-ups. Children at young ages have imaginary thinking and it fits right in. Children do not need to face reality too quickly. I have to admit we have taken the other Knuffle Bunny books out of the library and this is the only one that she asked us to buy her.
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