Thursday, March 24, 2016

Children's Picture Book Review Roundup #7 - Knuffle Bunny Trilogy by Mo Willems

Title: Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Walker & Company
Publication Date: July 7, 2005

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Literary Awards:
Caldecott Honor (2005)
Borders Original Voice Award for Picture Books (2004)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award for K-2 (2006)
Charlotte Zolotow Award Nominee Honor Book (2005)
Vermont's Picture Book Awards: Red Clover (2006)
Irma Black Award (2005)
Wanda Gag Read Aloud Honor Book (2005)

Merging expressive cartoon network-esque illustrations with beautiful black and white photographs of Brooklyn, this funny story tells how Trixie and Knuffle Bunny's trip to the laundromat with Dad goes terribly wrong when Trixie realizes some bunny's been left behind...! Her attempts to alert to Dad all the way home are unsuccessful, until Mom points out that Knuffle Bunny is missing and the family hotfoot it back to the laundromat. Fortunately, KB is safe,if a little a wet...

My Thoughts:
Trixie goes to the laundromat with her dad and helps with the laundry. On their way home she realizes she has left her favorite stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny, behind! She does everything she can to show her dad how unhappy she is but he doesn't realize until they make it home and her mom asks where Knuffle Bunny is! They all rush back to the laundromat in search of her stuffie!

I love the addition of "A Cautionary Tale" to the title as if the author is warning parents to never forget their child's favorite stuffy! The cartoon pictures drawn (or placed?) over the real life black and white photographs was unique to me. 


Title: Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: September 4, 2007

Literary Awards:
Caldecott Honor (2008)
Book SenseBook of the Year Award for Children's Illustrated (2008)
Wanda Gag Read Aloud Honor Book (2008)

Trixie can't wait to bring her one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny to school and show him off to everyone. But when she gets there, she sees something awful: Sonja has the same bunny. Suddenly, Knuffle Bunny doesn't seem so one-of-a-kind anymore. Chaos ensues until the bunnies are taken away by Ms. Greengrove. After school, Trixie finally gets her beloved bunny back. But in the middle of the night, Trixie realizes something. She has the wrong bunny!
Daddy comes to the rescue again as a midnight swap is arranged with the other bunny, the other little girl, and the other daddy. Needless to say, the daddies are not very happy. By the end of the story Trixie has her beloved bunny back, but she has also gained something new: her very first best friend.

In the tradition of the Caldecott Honor-winner 'Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale', this is another heartfelt, hilarious picture book that children (and their parents) will love. 

My Thoughts:
Trixie and her favorite stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny, return in Knuffle Bunny Too with Trixie a little older and on her way to school. She has brought Knuffle Bunny to show her teacher and classmates. When she arrives, she sees another little girl, Sonja, with her own Knuffle Bunny and her one-of-a-kind image is shattered. When the girls find themselves at odds with each other, the teacher takes both of their bunnies away and puts them on a shelf where they sit until school lets out. The girls take a bunny and go home where they eat dinner, prepare for bed, and fall asleep. But come 2:30 am, Trixie wakes up her parents to exclaim, "This is NOT my bunny!" Despite the very late (or very early) hour, Trixie's father scrambles to get Knuffle Bunny back!

I enjoyed the background photographs in this book even more than the first. There is more to look at  and they are a bit more fun with lots of extra details drawn in. It's just a little busier but still simple enough to follow along with. The drawings over real photos is a pretty unique concept that my daughter and I are really enjoying. I personally loved the Knuffle Bunny clock with the bunny ears as hands. 


Title: Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: September 28, 2010

Literary Awards:
Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Book (2010)

Trixie and her family are off on a fantastic trip to visit her grandparents--all the way in Holland! But does Knuffle Bunny have  different travel plans?

An emotional tour de force, Knuffle Bunny Free concludes one of the most beloved picture-book series in recent memory, with pitch perfect text and art, photos from around the world, and a stunning foldout spread, culminating in a hilarious and moving surprise that no child or parent will be able to resist. 

Bestselling, award-winning author Mo Willems has created an epic love story as only he can, filled with the joys and sadness of growing up--and the unconditional love that binds a father, mother, daughter, and a stuffed bunny. 

My Thoughts:
In the third and final Knuffle Bunny, Trixie and her parents travel by plane to see her Oma and Opa in Holland! When they get there, Trixie realizes her Knuffle Bunny is gone! Her father calls the airport but the plane has already left for China. She tries not to be upset. She is getting older and understands that there's a chance that she will never see him again. Her grandparents try to keep her occupied but she is still sad so they try to replace Knuffle Bunny with a newer, more advanced bunny. It doesn't work. Trixie just wants her Knuffle Bunny. Then she dreams of her bunny in China with other kids and she is finally happy. On their way home, she makes a great discovery and passes on her happiness to a baby in need of a best friend. 

This one was sweet. Trixie still loved her Knuffle Bunny more than anything but knew it was time to part with him. I think this was a great ending to this trilogy about a little girl with a favorite stuffed animal. It gives a good message to kids that it is better to pass things on to others that may enjoy them just as much. 

Once again, the illustrations and black and white background photos are wonderful and it was lots of fun to watch Trixie and her parents grow and change throughout these three books. 

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