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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Knuffle Bunny, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion, H B Fenn. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Not so long ago, before she could even speak words, Trixie went on an errand with her daddy..."

If you love to laugh out loud, this book will meet those expectations! Trixie and her Dad are off to the laundromat, laundry and Knuffle Bunny in tow. The stuffed bunny is her constant companion. If readers are watching carefully, they will be quick to react to the dilemma that is about to rear its ugly head. For, as the laundry basket is unloaded, Knuffle Bunny is inadvertantly placed in the washer alongside the rest of the basket's contents. Trixie and her Dad are then off on a leisurely stroll home when Trixie becomes aware that all is not right in her world anymore. She tries to tell her Dad (in toddler babble) and Dad reassures her that all is well, while not understanding a thing she is saying. Within minutes she is frantic and inconsolable. Neighbors and passers-by are horrified by Daddy's inability to assuage her tears. Once home, it takes Mom two seconds to figure out what's wrong. She wonders aloud where he is and the whole family is off to the rescue!

If you have spent any time with a toddler and such a loss, you will know what's next. Knuffle Bunny is found, after a fairly frenetic search and all is right in Trixie's world!

I love the humor that Mo Willems brings to the stories he tells. In this book, he uses mixed media (digital photography and hand-drawn ink sketches) to help him regale his readers with a memorable and quirky tale. In the front matter, we see a series of framed photos that give us the back story that leads up to today's events...marriage, a baby, life as a family and Trixie's obvious devotion to her stuffed pet. No wonder the loss is so dramatically felt!

As the expressions change page by page, we are privy to every emotion felt by Trixie and her Dad. So much fun! The surprise ending is just right...and will lead you to eagerly await Knuffle Bunny, Too.

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