First up, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, by the fantastic Mr. Mo Willems. (According to the author whom I met a few years ago, you are supposed to pronounce the “k” like “ku-nuffle.”)
This weekend was the best storytime yet at Union Ave Books! Had a great group of kids and we read two delightful books about misplaced stuffed friends. Yes, I surprised the group with two books. This may be a regular thing from now on, depending on the length of books and the attentiveness of the listeners. I’m going to do a review of each book, so stay tuned for the second one, hopefully tomorrow.
This book was actually my first introduction to Mo. I fell hard for the images created with a combination of real photographs and fun, cartoon characters. Not to mention an exciting and hilarious story. So let’s get to that.
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale is about a very little girl named Trixie who goes on a walk with her daddy to the laundromat. Trixie also takes along her stuffed friend, Knuffle Bunny, whom we can assume is an inseparable part of Trixie’s life. The walk is exciting, with many sights, and the laundromat proves to be even more fun. Everything is going great until about halfway home, Trixie realizes someone very important got left behind. Her communication skills being sparse, she resorts to a myriad of actions attempting to alert her father to the situation.
Unfortunately not until they arrive home, both upset I might add, does her mother instantly point out what’s wrong.
The family rushes to the laundromat, searches far and wide for the furry friend and finally reunites Trixie with her pal.
This is such a fun and lovable book! I can only imagine every child having some sort of story to match this or at least have enough of an attachment to a stuffed friend to feel the desperation of the situation. I heard a couple relatable stories at storytime which were all quite tragic with thankfully happy endings too.
I really do love the black and white photographs in combination with Mo’s iconic style of illustration.
Mr. Willems worked as a writer and animator for Sesame Street as well as Cartoon Network before focusing completely on his writing career and you can definitely feel the cartoon vibe in his characters. The expressions on his characters are marvelous, adding great humor to the situation much like a comic, and yet the real image setting grounds it.
And with the photos being in black and white, that adds the heaviness needed to offset the bright colors while not competing with the bright colors. Brilliant.
Hopefully you are familiar with all of Mr. Willems great and varied works which include the Knuffle Bunny series: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, and Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion. There’s the many pigeon books which all began with Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. There’s the great early reader series about Elephant and Piggie and also one with Cat the Cat. And Mo has many single books including Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, and his newest Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs. Phew! He is a busy guy. (Also, I would be remiss to not mention his marvelous book, You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When It Monsoons, which he created in 2006 after traveling the world and drawing a cartoon a day; but it is probably geared more for adults.)
I highly advise picking this book up. You will be delighted. I also advise reading this with a special stuffed friend too. It adds to the whole experience. Also check out the musical adaptation on stage of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical. It is a blast!