Picture Book Addiction
December 15, 2010
It happens at least once a month. Things will be quiet and average here at the library and then wham! A book shows up either fresh from Headquarters, comes in for a hold, or is returned – or suddenly, it’s as if a dam has burst. I’m not talking about a new bestseller or even a movie – I’m talking about picture books. We’ve had quite a few of these pop up over the years that I can recall with fondness – Tanka Tanka Skunk!, Ten in the Den and two of the current Building Block Nominees – Rhyming Dust Bunnies and Can You Make a Scary Face? But, one of the first books to start this delight is one you might not expect – Mo Willems’s Knuffle Bunny (A Cautionary Tale)
Knuffle Bunny tells the story of the time Trixie – exact age unknown – and her daddy took a trip to the laundromat. Heartbreak and adventure ensue when, on the walk back home, Trixie realizes her beloved bunny is missing. Unable to speak words, Trixie cannot tell her daddy about the disaster unfolding until they arrive home and mommy asks ‘Where is Knuffle Bunny?’ Needless to say, it’s a race to get back to the laundromat to find the missing rabbit. When they do find it, Trixie speaks her first words – Knuffle Bunny. Trixie and her parents went back to the shelves of Red Bridge’s Juvenile Easy section to appear from time to time… until three years later… when Trixie came back.
Knuffle Bunny Too (A Case of Mistaken Identity) takes us to Trixie’s first day of school, where she meets Sonja, a girl with a Knuffle Bunny of her own. Needless to say, the trouble starts almost immediately – from Sonja’s bunny getting all the attention, to a fight over the correct pronunciation of ‘Knuffle’ (kuh-nuffle versus nuffle.) Thinking to head off disaster, the teacher takes both bunnies away for the afternoon. Neither girl does well until they have their bunnies back – but it won’t be until hours later when both girls realize something awful. They don’t have the right Knuffle Bunny in their possession.
Once the girls and their daddies meet in the park to switch the rabbits back, all is right once more. And that is how Trixie made her first best friend.
Fast-forward to this past November. While hunting around on Amazon looking for a birthday gift, The Monster Princess by D.J. MacHale to be exact, something showed up in my recommendations queue: Knuffle Bunny Free (An Unexpected Diversion). Needless to say, I had the book on my holds list minutes later. This time we join Trixie and her parents as they head to Holland (that’s far away) to visit Oma and Opa. Once again, Knuffle Bunny accidentally gets left behind – only this time, he’s not at the wrong house or in the laundry – he’s still on the plane and on his way to China (that’s VERY far away!). Trixie’s parents and grandparents do their best to console her and while she puts up a brave front, Trixie is still very sad. I don’t want to ruin the ending for you – all I can say is – never underestimate the power of Knuffle Bunny – or Trixie.
Red Bridge Branch