In this sympathetic sequel to Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, former toddler Trixie gains verbal dexterity and still treasures her rag doll, Knuffle Bunny. Tugging her gangly, red-haired father along the sidewalk, she hurries to her preschool's show-and-tell, eager to show off her pale-green, floppy rabbit. "But just as her daddy kissed her good-bye, Trixie saw Sonja." No words need explain Trixie's distressed expression, because a turn of the page says it all: Trixie's classmate, with a wicked smirk, is clutching a bunny of her own. "Suddenly, Trixie's one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny wasn't so one-of-a-kind anymore." Each girl hugs her rabbit, with Trixie insisting, "Kuh-nuffle! Kuh-nuffle!" and Sonja retorting, "Nuffle! Nuffle!" Their teacher raises an eyebrow and puts both rabbits in time-out until the end of the day. Willems expertly sets up this case of mistaken identity, as each girl accidentally brings home the wrong bunny, and a late-night exchange is needed to resolve the girls' dilemma. As in the first book, Willems creates comic-book-style panels, with grayscale photographs of Brooklyn as backgrounds for his color-illustrated characters; insiders will recognize allusions to past Willems titles too. In a satisfying resolution, Trixie and Sonja become best friends, demonstrating that two or more children can enjoy similar toys. Not a word or image feels out of place.—PW
It was inevitable: since those fi8rst words triggered by her joyful reunion with Knuffle Bunny (Knuffle Bunny, BCCB 10/04), Trixie has learned to talk . . . and talk, and talk, and talk. She's eager to show her one-of-a-kind bunny to her classmates in preschool, until she sees Sonja has her own, nearly identical Knuffle Bunny. The girls argue and get their best friends taken away by the teacher, and there's a tragic mix-up upon their return at the end of the day. Unfortunately, while these girls can talk, they cant' tell time, and when they each discover the mistake in the wee hours of the morning, their beleaguered fathers have no choice but to venture out into the New York night to make the exchange. Willems manages pitch-perfect humor with his usual dexterity as he moves up and down the scales here-this story is as funny for grownups as it is for the slightly older elementary students to whom it seems best suited, and yet it remains sympathetic to listeners who are Trixie's age and have shared her predicament as well. The book mines humor from film noir conventions by casting a falsely sinister complexion over the mistaken identity and the nocturnal exchange, a tone that brings new significance to the black-and-white photographic backdrops behind the lively scrawled figures, while the epilogue brings viewers right back to bleary real life with the young and feckless. Yet another layered and effective work from Willems, this joyously continues his string of uncontested successes. KC—BCCB
Trixie knows that she will wow all the kids at Pre-K with her "one-of-a-kind" toy, but she doesn't reckon on Sonja, who arrives with her own Knuffle Bunny-and the morning does "not go well." The two bunnies are confiscated and returned at the end of the day, but neither girl notices that they've been swapped, until the wee hours of the morning. Willems revisits his black-and-white Brooklyn, his now-signature cartoon characters superimposed on the photographs. This technique here yields some spectacular results: The middle-of-the-night hostage exchange features a glorious image of the Manhattan skyline, the teeny figures of Trixie and her daddy and Sonja and her daddy approaching from opposite sides of Grand Army Plaza. His mastery of pacing is evident in every panel and page turn, the understated text punctuating the illustrations perfectly, and his use of the conventions of cartooning add to the hilarity. Too often, sequels come off as obviously calculated attempts to cash in on success; this offering, with its technical brilliance and its total and sympathetic understanding of the psychology of the preschooler, stands as magnificent in its own right.—Kirkus
Knuffle Bunny returns, but this time he has a doppelganger. Trixie is off to school, and things are going well enough-until she notices that Sonja is holding her own Knuffle Bunny. Arrgh! The afternoon results in dueling bunnies, which are confiscated by the teacher. Happily, they are returned at the end of the day, but at 2:30 a.m. realization hits: the bunny Trixie is sleeping with is not her own. Despite parental protestations, phone calls are placed, bunnies are exchanged, and the girls, bonded during the trauma, become best friends. This has much of the charm of Knuffle Bunny (2004), a Caldecott Honor Book, but the premise is stretched here: the middle-of-the-night meeting is energetic, but it seems overplayed. As in the previous title, the slice-of-life artwork is smashing. Willem's cartoon-style art, set against crisp black-and-white photos of New York City interiors and exteriors, catches every bit of the plentiful emotion. Keen-eyed kids will have fun keeping track of the Knuffle Bunny as he's lost, then found again.—Booklist
This second book starring Trixie, her parents, and her best stuffed-animal friend (Knuffle Bunny, rev. 9/04) touches on situations and emotions immediately familiar to small children and their grownup caregivers. Trixie (older now, and a whole lot more verbal than when we first met her) can't wait to share her "one-of-a-kind" Knuffle Bunny with her preschool friends. But when she spots classmate Sonja with a Knuffle Bunny look-alike (Sonja calls hers "Nuffle"), "the morning [does] not go well." The girls fight, and the bunnies are confiscated for the day. When it's time to go home, their teacher reunites each girl with her toy...or so it seems. An urgent middle-of-the-night phone call ("We have your bunny") and an emergency rabbit exchange restore order and provide Trixie with her first human best friend. Willems's page design and animation-inspired panel illustrations are just as visually dynamic as in the first book. As before, colorful cartoon-style characters are set against black-and-white photographs of an urban neighborhood. While the text winks above children's heads a couple of times, most young listeners will be so engaged in the drama that they'll care as little as Trixie does about such technicalities as "what 2:30 a.m.' means." Who needs sleep at a time like this?—Horn Book
When Trixie and her beloved Knuffle Bunny go to preschool, Trixie is shocked to learn that her bunny is not entirely unique in the world. Indeed, classmate Sonja has one, too! An argument ensues over the pronunciation of the bunny's name ("Kuh-nuffle," insists Trixie. "Nuffle," replies Sonja), and the teacher confiscates both bunnies, returning them at the end of the day. Trixie's blissful reunion comes to a dramatic conclusion at 2:30 a.m. when she awakens to the horrifying fact that this " is NOT Knuffle Bunny." In an unspeakable error, the stuffed animals have been switched. And both girls expect the mistake to be corrected immediately. Fans will not be surprised that daddy and Trixie venture into the Brooklyn night to meet Sonja and her dad for the rapturous exchange and a final hug that presages friendship between the girls. As readers have come to expect of Willems, his understated text is brief and the visual storytelling is hilariously eloquent. He masterfully employs the technique of setting his vivid, hand-drawn characters against photographs of neighborhood, school, and even (in an exquisite page turn) the beautifully up-lit Grand Army Plaza at night. In both photographs and cartoons there is expansively witty detail, and it will take a keen observer to distinguish between the "twin" bunnies (and to find the famous pigeon). Irresistibly funny, tender, and universal, this is another consummate star turn for Trixie, daddy, bunny, and their creator.—SLJ
In primary school, every day is show-and-tell day. On this sunny day, Trixie is certain that she has the best in show: a brand-new, one-of-a-kind Knuffle Bunny! But wait -- somebody else in her class is toting an apparently identical rabbit. Thus begins the emotional, ultimately entertaining follow-up to Mo Willems's Caldecott Honor book, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.
Willems has a brilliant knack for exposing early childhood's developmental pivot points, and for lampooning the best efforts of today's hip but hapless parents to do the right thing. In the artist's computer-manipulated graphics, manically wired and warmhearted cartoon characters rendered in color play out their workaday dramas against a backdrop of black-and-white photographs of neighborhood streets and interiors. Beyond the novelty of the special effect lies the stirring truth that the city that never sleeps is a self-regenerating, nonstop theater of becoming, a place where on any given day, amid huge skyscrapers and venerable brownstone blocks, two new friends may decide to draw their own favorite bunnies on the nearest sidewalk for all the world to see.
The New York Times
PreS-Gr 2—Mo Willems's warm, child-friendly sequel (Hyperion, 2007) to his Caldecott Honor book Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Hyperion, 2004; Weston Woods, 2006), is well-treated in this excellent production. When Trixie brings Knuffle Bunny to school and discovers that someone else in the class has the same bunny, chaos ensues, but in the end Trixie gains a new best friend. Willem's simple characters are fully animated against his static digitally-manipulated black-and-white photograph backgrounds. The bright colors of the cartoon-like characters stand out against the intricate yet muted photographs, creating an interesting blend of fiction and reality, with the story clearly taking the lead role. Willems, as well as his wife and daughter, provide the voices for the main characters. Some additional dialogue has been added to the story, as well as comments between father and daughter highlighting introductory artwork, endpapers, and the back cover illustration. Jazzy background music adds to the mix. Read-along subtitles are optional. A ten-minute interview with the author, excerpted from a longer one found on Getting to Know Mo Willems (Weston Woods, 2009), provides insights into his writing and illustrating processes and a clear vision of his connection with young children. This delightful production, full of energy and fun, will resonate with viewers.—Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA
Trixie knows that she will wow all the kids at Pre-K with her "one-of-a-kind" toy, but she doesn't reckon on Sonja, who arrives with her own Knuffle Bunny-and the morning does "not go well." The two bunnies are confiscated and returned at the end of the day, but neither girl notices that they've been swapped, until the wee hours of the morning. Willems revisits his black-and-white Brooklyn, his now-signature cartoon characters superimposed on the photographs. This technique here yields some spectacular results: The middle-of-the-night hostage exchange features a glorious image of the Manhattan skyline, the teeny figures of Trixie and her daddy and Sonja and her daddy approaching from opposite sides of Grand Army Plaza. His mastery of pacing is evident in every panel and page turn, the understated text punctuating the illustrations perfectly, and his use of the conventions of cartooning add to the hilarity. Too often, sequels come off as obviously calculated attempts to cash in on success; this offering, with its technical brilliance and its total and sympathetic understanding of the psychology of the preschooler, stands as magnificent in its own right. (Picture book. 3-8)