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Knuffle Bunny

Page history last edited by Lana Berdy 11 years, 7 months ago






Plot Summary



     Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale ,written and illustrated by Mo Willems, is a story about a toddler named Trixie, her father, mother and beloved stuffed animal, Knuffle Bunny. Trixie has not begun to speak. The genre of this book is realistic fiction because the people, places and events are real and could actually happen. The story begins when Trixie, Knuffle Bunny and Daddy go on an errand to the laundromat. After leaving their house in Brooklyn, Trixie and Daddy make their way to the laundromat passing several places on the way.

     While at the Laundromat, Trixie helps Daddy put laundry into the machines. When they were almost home, Trixie realizes she forgot something very important at the laundromat, Knuffle Bunny. Because Trixie could not tell Daddy that something was wrong, they continued on until they reached home. It was not until Trixie's mother realized Knuffle Bunny was missing that the family rushed back to the laundromat to find it. After Daddy finally finds Knuffle Bunny in the washing machine, Trixie is so excited that she utters her first words, "Knuffle Bunny".



     The plot centers around a sequence of events including Trixie and Daddy on their way to the laundromat, being at the laundromat, coming home and running back to the laundromat to find Knuffle Bunny. This plot centers around the conflict of Trixie losing Knuffle Bunny and finding an adeqaute manner to communicate this to her father. Many children have a blanket or stuffed animal they always carry around with them and that is why this story is so relatable to young children. Willem's depicts the action of the plot in the illustrations that show expressive emotions on the character's faces and movements. The text shows action by increasing the font significantly when something important is happening.


The setting of the story is in present day Brooklyn, New York. The buildings and landmarks throughout the story reflect the appropriate time period. For example, Trixie and Daddy pass their block, the park, the school before they finally reach their destination of the laundromat (3-6).


The characters of the story are very well developed with active emotional features. The main character,Trixie,  is a toddler and is illustrated with youthful features such as her short, not fully grown hair, newly grown baby teeth, her pink shirt and her overalls. Also, her eyes were drawn much bigger than her the other characters, which suggests a curious personility and a wide eyed perception of the world. Another important character, Daddy, is portrayed a little more simplistic and put together. His eyes are much smaller than Trixie's and he also wears glasses, suggesting a more serious and responsible personality.



     The theme of  Knuffle Bunny: can be explictly analyized by the title itself. "A Cautionary Tale" suggests that some sort of lesson will be suggested. In this story's case, the theme seems to be taking responsibility for our actions in a somewhat humorous manner.The lesson to children would be to be careful with possesions that are important to us. For adults, the lesson would be to always listen even if you do not understand what your child is trying to say. Growing up is also a major them presented in this book. Sometimes, it takes experiencing important events for children to learn something new. Trixie was so happy to find Knuffle Bunny after almost losing it that she spoke her first words. Other smaller themes include imagination, parenting and cooperation.

Text/Font choices:

     The text of Knuffle Bunny was uniquely designed because of the variation in font choice depending on dialog along with the size of the font according to importance of the story. When Trixie first tries to communicate that she lost Knuffle Bunny to her father (13), her quotation is placed inside of a white bubble with an enlarged, scribbled, expressive font. Also when Trixie figured out that something is wrong, the words "she realized something" are enlarged significantly (12).



Artistic Elements 


Line, shape, texture, color, and design

     The visual aspect of Knuffle Bunny is unique in the sense that Willem's uses dual mediums in each illustration. The book uses actual photos from different scenery of New York City which combine with cartoon drawn illustrations of the characters. These photos were digitally combined with a computer by Willems. The illustrations of the characters are represented by bright colors and are contrasted by the dull, sepia tone of the setting behind them. The scriblled line used to outline the characters causes the charcters to stand out from the scenery in the backround. The photographs on each page have similar sizing througout the entire story and are placed on a solid green backround on every page also. The character's emotion and size, however, vary from page to page. For example, Trixie's character is drawn much larger to highlight the fact that she lost Knuffle Bunny and portray the sense of anxiety that overcomes her (12-15). Willem's uses the scribbled line to represent the different emotions of each character. For example. when Daddy is whistling. his eyebrows are drawn up at an angle. Also, line is used to illustrate the traumatic look on Trixie's face when she realzies she lost Knuffle Bunny with a squiggled grimace and downward facing dimples.



Analysis and Critique 


      Willem's created a story that was extremely unique in the sense that many books do not combine real life scenery with illustrated cartoons. Her interesting use of dismal tones combined with bright colors and scribbled lines causes not only the illustrations, but the book in general to stand out. The humorous emotion displayed by Trixie's character adds to the overal comedic theme. For example, when Trixe, "went bonless" during her tempertantrum her mangled body and facial expression is something that parents and children can relate to. Willems uses simple expressions to imply events that may seem boring if she had explained them in greater detail. Her lack of text adds to the overall effectiveness of the book in the sense that the reader get the sense that small and seemingly insignificant events can sometimes have great humor. I feel that this book is extremely effective because it is relatable to both children and adults. Many adults get frusterated when they cannot understand the wants and needs of their child, just like Daddy did not know why Trixe was so upset. Adults my also able to recall their first words spoken as a child. Also, many children have a stuffed animal that they never leave home without and would probably react the same way Trixie did.





Willems, Mo.Knuffle Bunny. Illus. Mo Willems. New York, NY. HyperionBooksforChildren, 2004.




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