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Friday, 28 October 2011

Review: Knuffle Bunny Free - An Unexpected Diversion

I first fell in love with Knuffle Bunny back in 2005, when book one - A Cautionary Tale - stole my heart (and that of my kids).

The story of young Trixie and her prone-to-be-lost toy rabbit certainly rang bells with parents everywhere... and in fact, I can still remember the terror, as a young tot myself, when my beloved pink teddy bear was lost forever - thrown one too many times from a retro 60s pram whilst out shopping with Mum.

I've found my own children's beloved toys in endless bizarre locations - and have shared the exact same expression as Trixie's harried dad (oh, how I wish I could have remained as cool as Trixie's unflappable mum!). Willems has certainly pinpointed the dichotomy between some parenting partners (the cool one, the harried one) with his Knuffle Bunny books - all done with trademark hilarity and super-cute cartoons, superimposed over black and white photographs.

In book 'free' - An Unexpected Diversion - Trixie travels to Holland to visit Oma and Opa - and of course, you can imagine what she leaves on the plane. The part where she reveals this to her dad is priceless. But Oma and Opa try to convince Trixie that she's a big girl now - and sometimes it's important to let things go.

So, Trixie tries really hard, and she actually does okay, but it's not until Trixie returns to that same aeroplane for her trip home, that she realises just how far she's come - and just how 'big' she might be.

I'm trying to console myself, with a look akin to Trixie's face when she 'realises something', that this may well be the last Knuffle Bunny book. All indicators point to the fact that Trixie has indeed 'let go' - even a tear-jerking postscript from Dad, hoping that a grown Trixie, perhaps with a child of her own, may one day receive a very special package in the mail, from a far-away pen pal...

But I'm still holding hope Willems finds another Knuffle story in him yet.

Clever, visually rewarding, funny-bone-tickling and heart-warming all at the same time - Knuffle Bunny is, and always will be, Willems at his very best.

Title: Knuffle Bunny Free - An Unexpected Diversion
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 September 2011
Format: Soft cover
ISBN:  9781406336498
For ages: 4 - 8
Type: Picture book

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