Knuffle Bunny Free: an Unexpected Diversion
by Mo Willems
HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2010
Another hit by Mo Willems! In this one the illustrations are intriguing. The family takes a trip to Europe. Mo, both the writer and artist, uses travel photos as backdrops for the illustrations. Over each photo he placed his hand drawn characters. Very clever. He says the biggest challenge in doing that was getting permission to get behind the counter of the airport’s scanning equipment to get the photo he wanted.
Knuffle Bunny Free is a change of life story. The young girl carries ‘Knuffle Bunny’, with whom she is inseparable, on the plane; but it is accidentally forgotten when they debark. The girl is grief stricken. Her family calls the airport, but the plane has left for China. Her world collapses, she misses her bunny. Life is not good. But then one night she has a dream in which her bunny comforts boys and girls all over the world and she wakes up feeling peaceful. She is fine. The family takes their seats on their flight home and, to her surprise, her Knuffle Bunny is tucked in the seat pocket. Her parents are relieved, but the girl no longer needs bunny. A squalling baby behind her, she turns to the mother and offers her bunny for the toddler. The mother, and all the passengers, are grateful. Her parents are shocked! A very clear and simple moment in which one child out grows her need for a bunny.