Little did I know that when I checked out Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems that my girls would fall deeply, madly, and irrevocably in love with Trixie and her beloved rabbit. I am a pretty stuffy person, I’ll admit, so Mo Willems’ cartoonish art did not appeal to me at first glance, and I suppose I expected my girls to have my same prejudice. 🙂 Well, they didn’t.
This tale really is delightful. It’s the simple story of baby Trixie who goes on a jaunt to the laundromat with her father. Her beloved Knuffle Bunny, the title character, gets inadvertently placed in the washing machine, and anyone who has ever had a child with an affinity for a certain animal or, as the case is here at the House of Hope, blanket knows the rest of the story. It’s Trixie’s baby talk and Willems’ apt drawings of a child in the throes of a melt-down that make this so (familiar?) endearing. I find myself sympathizing with Trixie’s father. My girls LOVE it when Trixie goes “boneless.” This one always elicits cries of “Read it again, Mommy!”
The second installment of the Trixie-Bunny saga is just as popular here in our home. Knuffle Bunny Too begins a few years later, with Trixie entering the world of pre-school. She is excited to take her beloved Knuffle Bunny for the show-and-tell, but when she gets to school, she is horrified to learn that Sonja has a Knuffle Bunny, too. Well, the expected mix-up ensues, but all is rectified in the end with a cloak-and-dagger meeting of the the girls and their fathers to trade back their Bunnies.
Willems’ marriage of two types of media in his illustrations, photography and cartoons, makes these books fun to look at, too. Others agree. What amazes me about our sharing of these books is how much the girls “get” the illustrations. These books rely heavily upon the illustrations to communicate Trixie’s emotions, and Lulu and Louise understand that so well.
When I saw how well-loved these books were at our house, I promptly checked out everything else I could find at our library by Mo Willems. His other books have not been as popular here so far, although the Elephant and Piggie books have shown promise.