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Friday, October 15, 2010

Knuffle Bunny Free, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Balzer & Bray, Harper. 2010. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"Trixie's daddy called the airline
and asked them to look for
Knuffle Bunny on the plane.
But the plane had left for CHINA.

China is very far away...."

I often rail about seems we are overrun with them. Of course, I have no intention of criticizing ALL three part series...only some of them. I just get a bit tired of  seeing the cover of a new book and then seeing that it is the first, or second, or even the third book in a new TRILOGY! Now, I don't mean Hunger Games, or Dark Materials and for sure, I don't mean Knuffle Bunny. In fact, this third book about Trixie and her favored stuffed toy is the 'just right' ending for their adventures. After all, Trixie is growing up!

Most of us have been where Trixie and her parents find themselves. Well, not in their neighborhood but certainly in a similar situation. Think back (for those of you with grown children) and try to remember a time when a favorite blanket, toy, soother, whatever,  got lost, left behind, hidden...remember the trauma? There was no soothing the child, until the lost was found, or they cried themselves to sleep. That is how Trixie felt about Knuffle Bunny in the first two books. And it looks like it might be the same again; when he is left behind on the plane that has taken the family to visit Trixie's grandparents in Holland.

The beginning of the holiday is stark for a young girl who is very much missing Knuffle. He has always been her best friend, her solace, her port in any storm. She misses him, and she worries that she will never see him again. Imagine her surprise when, on the flight home, she just happens to find him in the airline pocket with the safety card and in flight magazine. She is over the moon! When she hears the baby behind her fussing, she wonders out loud if he would like to have her Knuffle Bunny. Her parents are amazed and cautious, the baby's mother is incredulous and thankful and Trixie is growing up and willing to share the joy of having a best friend. She is ready to part with him.

Back home and settled Trixie soon receives her first letter in the mail...she is thrilled. She now has a pen pal.

Her Daddy has a wish for her future and he shares it with us. It is the perfect ending to an amazing trilogy!

As in the first two books Mo Willems creates his illustrations using black-and-white photography paired with ink drawings and digital collage. It's so much fun to carefully pore over each one, noticing all there is in the background scenery and the expressions of each character. So long, Knuffle Bunny. I will miss you, too!

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