It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about books here, which is sort of funny since I feel like this winter we’ve been reading more than ever. The little one’s reading is really taking off, which means her bedside light is staying on a lot later. She reads aloud as she reads to herself, which is particularly adorable. I’m pretty sure E did this as well, but it’s been so long since those early reading days for her that I had forgotten.
Since we’re gearing up for our NYC trip next month, I thought we’d pull down all the books about the city for reading this month. And since we’re renting a brownstone in Brooklyn while we’re there, the first books that came to mind were the Knuffle Bunny Books by Mo Willems.
Mo Willems is one of my favorite authors / illustrators, and his Knuffle Bunny stories are delightful. The first one starts with a young Trixie and her father as they head out for an afternoon visit to the neighborhood laundromat. Trixie’s beloved Knuffle Bunny comes along for the walk, but somehow ends up in the laundry. The bunny’s missing status isn’t discovered until they are halfway home. At some point mid-meltdown, Trixie goes “boneless”, and that moment, that description, that illustration – that’s the one that seals the deal on this book as the most relatable story for children and parents alike.
I love Willems’ drawings over the black and white photographs of his neighborhood – ah, Brooklyn! I can relate to those moments when that special something turns up missing – E’s beloved blankies, or F’s well-loved burpies. And I just really like books with dads and daughters – it’s not that I feel like dads are necessarily underrepresented on our bookshelves, maybe I just relate more to the observer here because I’m a mom – and a lot of this book is really about observing that moment (in public!) when all control and sanity is lost. We’ve all been there, we’ve all got at least a few of these tales tucked away in our memories. In those moments you are both participating and observing – it’s a sort of out-of-body experience, which really amplifies the emotions (and embarrassment).
If you’re going to own the first one, you really should own all three.
In “Too”, Trixie grows up a bit, and starts school. She struggles with making new friends, particularly with another little girl with the exact same bunny. Said bunnies end up getting switched; this discovery isn’t made until the wee hours of the morning (of course), and the nighttime trade arrangement is one of my favorite story plots ever.
In “Free”, Trixie is even older, and she and her parents take a big trip overseas to visit her grandparents. In all the hubbub of leaving the plane, Knuffle Bunny is left behind. This loss threatens to throw a shadow over the entire trip, but Trixie is allowed to work through her sadness at her own pace. It’s such a lovely book about growing up and being little – such a sweet mix of the two. I love Trixie’s family in this story, and I really love how the trilogy is wrapped up in the end.
The first book – or even better, all three – would make a great reading gift for kids around 3-8 years old. A perfect Easter gift as well – it is centered around a bunny after all! In fact, since we’ll be living in Knuffle Bunny’s neighborhood over Easter this year, I think I might order a real Knuffle Bunny to tuck into my suitcase for Easter morning.
And if you want to read a funny take on the series, here’s a good one.
Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!