I've blogged about one of Mo Willems' books on here before. I'd like to blog about more of them (there are so many great ones) but I'm trying to limit my book reviews to one per author at the moment. However this one is worth mentioning now. Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (HarperCollins Publishers, Sept. 2010) is the third in a trilogy about Trixie and her favourite stuffed friend. All three books are charming and appealing to children who can identify with Trixie and her different stages of growth. In this one, Trixie begins to realise just how hard it is to grow up.
Trixie and her family travel to Holland to visit her grandparents. Somewhere along the way Knuffle Bunny is lost and Trixie doesn't know if she can manage without him. Her family tries to make her feel better. They try to comfort her with a new bunny and other distractions. The situation doesn't improve, however, until Trixie has a dream about Knuffle Bunny. She begins to realise she will be just fine without him and that perhaps Knuffle Bunny will be able to comfort other children now that she no longer needs him so much. I particularly like how Willems sensitively addresses a topic we all, as children and parents, deal with yet manages to incorporate his great sense of humour. I'd also like to mention how well we liked Willems' use of real photographs combined with superimposed character drawings. I had to explain to my daughters the picture of Knuffle Bunny passing through the x-ray machine before Trixie and her family boarded the plane. One of my girls also noted the difference in toilets in Holland while looking through the pictures.:) The realism of the photographs juxtaposed with the almost cartoonish quality of the story's characters makes for really fun and interesting art.