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Knuffle Bunny #1

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale

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Merging expressive cartoon network-esque illustrations with beautiful black and white photographs of Brooklyn, this funny story tells how Trixie and Knuffle Bunny's trip to the laundromat with Dad goes terribly wrong when Trixie realizes some bunny's been left behind...! Her attempts to alert Dad all the way home are unsuccessful, until Mom points out that Knuffle Bunny is missing and the family hotfoot it back to the laundromat. Fortunately, KB is safe, if a little wet...

40 pages, Hardcover

First published September 1, 2004

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About the author

Mo Willems

245 books3,825 followers
#1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems is best known for his Caldecott Honor winning picture books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny: a cautionary tale.

In addition to such picture books as Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct, and Time to Pee, Mo has created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of early readers, and published You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons, an annotated cartoon journal sketched during a year-long voyage around the world in 1990-91.

The New York Times Book Review called Mo “the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the 00's."

Mo’s work books have been translated into a myriad of languages, spawned animated shorts and theatrical musical productions, and his illustrations, wire sculpture, and carved ceramics have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the nation.

Mo began his career as a writer and animator for television, garnering 6 Emmy awards for his writing on Sesame Street, creating Nickelodeon's The Off-Beats, Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City and head-writing Codename: Kids Next Door.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his family.

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5 stars
26,623 (54%)
4 stars
12,685 (25%)
3 stars
6,655 (13%)
2 stars
1,826 (3%)
1 star
1,028 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,855 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
4,079 reviews31.3k followers
July 29, 2019
This is a neat bit of artwork. He took pictures of real life settings and drew cartoons onto the setting to tell this story. I love it!

It is a simple beginning story. The child and father go to the laundry mat to wash clothes and the tot gets the stuffed bunny stuck in the washing machine unintentionally. The tot goes crazy and it’s the mom who figures it out. It’s a very cute story.

I was just reading ‘don’t let the pigeon drive the bus’ yesterday and saying how I don’t like Mo’s artwork, but I find this style of his refreshing and fun and it’s a good story. I love this. Mo has a way with telling some simple and straight forward stories and I could learn from him. I do prefer this artwork to his other artwork which doesn’t work for me.

The kids loved this book. The niece knew right away what upset the little kid so much. They laughed at all the baby language. The nephew laughed at this. They loved it, but they also love other books by Mo too. The niece gave this 4 stars and the nephew gave this 5 stars.
Profile Image for Ellen.
78 reviews11 followers
February 15, 2008
I'd give this book extra stars if I could (5 is so limiting, no?) for the amount of times the phrase "she went boneless" has made me laugh at completely random moments during my work day. It's a perfect description of what toddlers do during a tantrum. You know, when they collapse on the ground (this is great fun in a public place) making them nearly impossible to lift. I also happen to love these illustrations, with simply rendered drawings superimposed on black and white urban scenery (Brooklyn, I presume). An all-time favorite.
Profile Image for Julie.
2,015 reviews38 followers
January 1, 2020
A fellow work colleague from the Youth Dept. at the Library brought my attention to this book. My children are grown. I borrowed this book purely for my own enjoyment. I liked it very much and have just completed the third book in this series.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,823 reviews12.9k followers
July 21, 2018
Mo Willems is truly a versatile author, able to entertain his young readers with a few long-developed series, but also inject some new ideas and characters on occasion. Even as a wee lass, Trixie loves her Knuffle Bunny and takes him along when it’s time to go to the laundromat. On the way home, Trixie realises that she’s forgotten her beloved friend, but cannot convince her father to turn around, as she has no actual words yet. It is only upon their return to the house that Trixie’s mom notices the issue and the entire family begins the search, all while Knuffle Bunny waits patiently to be found. Neo enjoyed this Willems piece and sped through it without issue. Funny enough, his greatest concern/worry was why someone would have to leave their own home to to laundry. Apparently, Neo is learning the definition of ‘first world problems’.
Profile Image for Manybooks.
3,214 reviews104 followers
May 31, 2023
Now while on a nostalgic and personal level Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale sure does resonate (for I too once misplaced a treasured plush rabbit as a toddler), I really do not all that much like the accompanying illustrations. As sorry, but I have always been rather easily creeped out by especially cartoon-like images and little Trixie with her overly large and bulging eyes really does almost give me the proverbial willies so to speak (and therefore, while I can appreciate Mo Willems' ingenuity and do like the combination of pictures and black and white Brooklyn photographs, I just do not enjoy the exaggerated caricature renderings all that much on a personal artistic tastes and aesthetic level). But regarding the story, the presented narrative of Snuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, I in fact can and do totally and untterly identify with young Trixie's non verbal frustration, with the fact that she is trying so hard to make herself be understood (that Knuffle Bunny has been left at the laundromat) and that her father annoyingly and infuriatingly simply does not GET it, that he never does even notice Knuffle Bunny is missing. And while some readers might well and indeed be annoyed at and frustrated with Trixie's tantrums and emotional outbursts, I for one feel much more frustration with the father for continuously failing to notice the reason for his young daughter's outrageous behavior. For in many if not most ways, the father really is just so utterly clueless and on an entirely personal level, I find it both sad and a bit angering that it takes repeated and frustrated almost violent outbursts of emotionality until the mother (and even then, still not the father) realises that Trixie's toy, that her Knuffle Bunny has been left at the laundromat (Trixie might be preverbal, but since her Knuffle Bunny is almost like a permanent attachment to her and for her, in my opinion, the father should have realised what is wrong if not immediately, then at least soon). Three stars (but with less cartoony and exaggerated illustrations, I probably would be rating Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale with four stars).
Profile Image for Ronyell.
956 reviews320 followers
September 25, 2012
“Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” is a Caldecott Honor book from Mo Willems, creator of Cartoon Network’s “Sheep in the Big City.” This book is about how a toddler named Trixie loses her Knuffle Bunny at the Laundromat and has a hard time trying to tell her dad that they lost Knuffle Bunny. “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” is truly one of the most brilliant children’s books ever written that children will love for many years!

Mo Willems has truly done a brilliant job at writing and illustrating this book about listening to your child when he or she is trying to tell you something important. What made this book truly memorable was the fact that this book was based off a real incident that Mo Willems had with his daughter and the audience can really relate to the story as every parent at some point had an incident with their child that they could not understand what their child is trying to tell them and they try hard to listen, but the words that come out of a child’s mouth at such a young age can be incomprehensible to the adult that they cannot really understand their child’s needs and wants. Mo Willems’ illustrations are extremely creative since the characters are silly looking and yet are pasted on photos of a real neighborhood in Brooklyn, making the illustrations look somewhat three dimensional.

“Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale” is a brilliant book for children who also experience a time when they tried to tell their parents something important, but their speech was not clear enough for the parents to really understand them. I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate about this book, unless you count Trixie’s whining when she left her Knuffle Bunny.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,520 followers
March 1, 2019
You may know Mo Willems by his Pigeon books and his Piggie and Gerald books, but I truly believe that his Knuffle Bunny saga books are his best.
Beautiful black and white photographs of Brooklyn and amazing colourful illustrations describe the story of little Trixie and her Knuffle Bunny and how it develops as Trixie grows up.

In this first book Trixie is so little that she can not talk. This is a funny story that tells about
-Trixie and Knuffle Bunny's trip to the laundromat 
-how Trixie lost her Knuffle Bunny
-how Trixie said her first words

The desperation of her parents when they realise that their daughter lost her favourite toy is priceless.
Profile Image for Melki.
6,049 reviews2,391 followers
February 9, 2018
Heart-rending, yet hilarious tale of a toddler who's not yet able to speak, and her attempts to communicate that her favorite toy has gone missing - Trixie bawled. She went boneless.
(Have you ever tried to pick up a boneless child? It's nearly impossible!)

I like the combo of cartoony characters set against b&w photos.


It's easy to see why this one has become a modern day classic.
Profile Image for Kaethe.
6,454 reviews475 followers
August 14, 2021
11 August 2021

Reread for my 365 Kids Book challenge. You can see all the books on their own shelf.

Reallife has been quite a bit too much this summer. There was the excitement of being vaccinated and being able to go out into the world again followed by the realization that not enough people who could be vaccinated are, and in the meantime COVID was finding lots of scary ways to mutate, and that in fact, it waa not safe at all to go out because no one was wearing a mask, especially not those who were unvaccinated, and there is just no way to guess who is infectious, and I want no part in passing around a deadly disease.

So, yeah, not a lot of picture books this summer.

In case you're wondering, probably not because I had forgotten, but the lists appear to be no closer to being fixed, as I seem pasted in permanently.

Yeah, and for dinner tonight I've ordered pizza. I am just done. But when I started this project it was in part to revisit some old faves, and few are as consistently pleasing as the Knuffle Bunny saga.

Should Trixie herself one day continue the story, I would be delighted.


The PandaBat loves this, even though he's never had a special stuffed animal or blanket or anything.


The PandaBat has always loved Knuffle Bunny. Which is not as ominous as it sounds. It's a good thing, really.

2007 Dec 20

He really loves Mo Willems, too. The Elephant and Piggy books, the Pigeon books, all of it, except that one travel book. Which he doesn't get.


2008 Jul 12

If there's a baby coming into the life of someone you know, give the Knuffle Bunny and the two sequels. They will love you for it.


Library copy
Profile Image for Chasity.
246 reviews13 followers
January 9, 2021
We love Mo Willems in this house. His books have not only entertained my kids, they're making them want to read more. Knuffle bunny speaks to the kid (or parent) in all of us!
39 reviews8 followers
August 5, 2007
Okay, so I debated adding the picture books I've read because they are so short and when you've worked in a children's library they can quickly add up. That can be slightly misleading when the book count at the top says, "you have read 1965 books!" That being said, I'm only putting on my absolute favorites and what I consider to be quality children's literture. People are always having babies and books make a good gift. So here are my suggestions just in case you've ever been tempted to pick up one of those technicolor Dora the explorer board books that are found in the Wal-mart check out aisle. Those books are crap, even if the television show they're based on is educational and entertaining. Okay, off my soapbox now. Mo Willems is wonderful, his books are witty and clever and can easily be enjoyed by children and adults. Better suited for pre-school and up who can appreciate his style.
Profile Image for Baby Bookworm.
1,642 reviews93 followers
November 13, 2017

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello friends, and Happy Father’s Day! We’re back after a week off, and excited to share our review of a family favorite, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems, a hilarious autobiographical story of a girl, her dad, and her unusually-named best friend.

One day, Trixie and her daddy go for a walk to the laundromat, bringing along Trixie’s constant companion: a stuffed rabbit named Knuffle Bunny. Toddler Trixie is excited for the fun to be had, happily “helping” her father with the chore. The pair finish loading the washer and begin the walk home when Trixie realizes something. She attempts to tell her daddy the problem, but her babbling baby talk does not convey her distress. Her daddy thinks that Trixie is simply being fussy, and attempts to continue on their way. Well, this leaves Trixie no choice – she throws a walloping tantrum to communicate her complaint. By the time the pair return home, they are both frustrated, until Trixie’s Mommy opens the door and asks the magic question: “Where’s Knuffle Bunny?”

This is a favorite in our household, and no matter how many times we read it, it always gets a laugh. From the simple yet wonderfully expressive illustrations, to the sweet moments of father and daughter bonding, to the intensely relatable slice-of-life story that will make anyone with a toddler sympathize with both Trixie and her daddy, it’s a perfectly-paced tale that will please readers of any age. The distinctive style of art that incorporates illustrations over black and white photos of real-world environments gives the story a feeling of authenticity, and the length is perfect. JJ and I both love this one, and we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a sweet story about the challenges and joys of being a perfectly imperfect father. Baby Bookworm approved!

Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!
Profile Image for karrie's corner.
17 reviews2 followers
February 9, 2009
If your child has a blankie, stuffed animal or other comfort item, you will appreciate this little tale of a girl and her father doing laundry at the local Laundromat. Mo Willems combines photographs of his own neighborhood in New York City, and superimposes his colorful drawings into the pictures. What you get is a really effective storyboard. (In a most of candor, Willems admitted that he Photo-shopped all the trash and debris out of the pictures when he noticed how dirty his neighborhood looked.)

What is so perfect about this book is the language nuances parents have with their children before they can speak, and the utmost importance those things of comfort really are to our children. Speaking from experience, my younger son had a stuff Lambchop that went on every grocery store purchase, every doctor's visit, and every vacation we went on in a four year period of time. While on vacation one year, we stopped at a store to pick up a few items, got in the car and drove 90 minutes down the road before Owen started asking for LeLe. A quick look around the car and we were turning around to drive the 90 minutes back to the store, hoping and praying that LeLe was still there and that some other kids hadn't found her and made a claim on her. Thankfully she was there, the hiccuping sobs stopped, and we were on our way again. It was a small price to pay -- 4 1/2 hours, new juice packets and another snack -- to ensure my son's comfort and happiness.

So many parents and kids will relate to this charming and sweet story, and maybe even get a laugh out of it as you're all snuggled together and reading it while clutching a comfort-thing, whatever that may be.
Profile Image for Philip.
985 reviews265 followers
December 28, 2012
Mo Willems is the current children's book Juggernaut. It seems all of his books are hits. His Pigeon books are hilarious. His Elephant and Piggie series: brilliant.

Of his oeuvre though, I contend that the Knuffle Bunny series is the best. Of the 3 books, 2 won the Caldecott Medal.

So, we read all three in order tonight. Here is Eleanor's review for the first one:

Me: Tell me why you liked the first book.

E: Because Trixie was a baby. And I like babies.

Me: Tell me what happened in the book.


Me: Do you have a favorite toy? Or did you have one when you were a baby?

E: Mm-Hmmm. I had a favorite toy. My TRAMPOLINE!

Me: Ok... ummmm... how would you feel if you lost that?

E: Saaaaad. Put in that they were walking around the block.

Me: I'm not going to put that in there.

E: Put that in, or I'll be bummed.

Me: Ok. It's in. Did I tell you that these are my favorite Mo Willems books?

E: HUH? No. You didn't.

Me: Do you think other people will like them?

E: Yeah. I think I like them.
Profile Image for Kandice.
316 reviews
October 22, 2014
This book was featured in September 2014 of Virtual Book Club for Kids. It is a very simple story of a toddler, Trixie, and her best friend, a stuffed rabbit she calls Knuffle Bunny (pronounced Ka-nuffle Bunny). One day, they head to the Laundromat with Trixie’s daddy. After loading the machines and heading home, Trixie realizes that she doesn’t have Knuffle Bunny. She doesn’t speak yet, so she tries to communicate what is wrong to her father through random jargon. Daddy doesn’t understand why Trixie is so upset. Once they arrive home, Mommy comes to the rescue as soon as she notices Knuffle Bunny is not in Trixie’s possession. And so the mad dash back to the Laundromat begins. After searching and searching, Knuffle Bunny is found. Trixie declares her first words, “KNUFFLE BUNNY!”

My son looooooved this book and I found thought it was okay; hence the 5 stars are his rating. There are some teaching opportunities that arouse through the story such as putting laundry in the washer or sorting by colours. We made a few crafts such as a search and find washing machine (aka water bottle). We also discussed Trixie’s emotions. I, personally, didn’t find this book amazing, but since my toddler loved it, it grew on me too.
Profile Image for J. Boo.
719 reviews21 followers
August 9, 2017
The NICU where DS#2 spent a few uneventful days (*) had a shelf of free children's book giveaways, which is where I got this.

Didn't particularly care for the story of a baby losing and (do I need a spoiler?) her stuffed bunny. Didn't like the illustrations, either: cartoons overlayed on top of pictures of hipster New York City neighborhoods.

I've pulled it out once or twice and none of the kids have been interested. Perhaps for DS#1, who is very tightly bonded to his own bunny and long-time companion, it strikes too close to home. But I don't remember an emotional reaction to the reading, more of an "eh, whatever".

I'm glad that this wasn't my only Willems. The "Elephant and Piggy" series is far more entertaining.

(*) That was two years ago and he's fine now, thanks for asking. It was strikingly less worrisome for me than what the usual NICU parent because it was a) obvious he wouldn't be there for long and b) my 9lb+ giant looked absurdly out of place next to the tiny preemies.
Profile Image for Jenny's  .
173 reviews47 followers
June 16, 2014
Knuffle Bunny, caught my eye at the local bookstore. Filled with black and white photo's with cartoon characters imposed over the top. The art captures your attention. Then you open up this little story and are transported back to those days with small munchkins in toe. All the frustration and craziness, and joy flooded my senses and memories as I remembered my Knuffle Bunny experiences with small children.(I have five children). I found myself chuckling out loud as I came to the page with the baby under his fathers arm both with extreme looks of frustration on their faces!

So for the last week Knuffle Bunny pops into my head while I'm sitting at the doctors office or wandering through the grocery store. And a smile creeps onto my face as I'm doing all these everyday things. This is a sign of a great book when it follows me around like that. It won the Caldacott in 2005. A great one to share with children.
Profile Image for Faloni ©.
2,126 reviews5 followers
March 20, 2019
Always keep your child involved in helping out with easy to do small-chore-related tasks such as inserting coins into a laundry machine, helping scoop detergent out of the box into the washer, adding fabric sheets to the dryer, finding an open laundry station to fluff and fold. It will be exciting when your son or your daughter "helps" you pick out a machine at the laundry mat or helps you set up the station with a basket, cart, or to do just small chore-related tasks.
Profile Image for Lisa Vegan.
2,802 reviews1,234 followers
July 21, 2016
I really love the incorporation of photos of real places and the paintings (not at all realistic) of the characters and other objects that make up this book’s illustrations.

The story of a lost favorite toy of a preverbal child will strike a chord with young children.
Profile Image for SJ.
16 reviews
November 1, 2016
In this popular children’s picture book, Knuffle Bunny, Trixie, and her father take a walk to run some errands. After a stop at the laundry mat they head back home. Suddenly, Trixie realizes something is amiss. Because Trixie is a small child, she doesn’t have the words to communicate to her father what is bothering her. When they arrive home, Trixie’s mother knows right away what is wrong. Trixie, father, and mother rush out the door to make it right.

Knuffle Bunny is creatively illustrated through the use of mixed media. Cartoon characters are drawn over photographs that serve as a backdrop in each picture. The characters stand out because of Willem’s use of contrast between the black and white background and the colorful characters.
Willem’s style is cartoon-like and humorous. One can see the movement in the characters as they interact in the story. It is also easy to read the emotions on the characters faces because of their exaggerated expressions. Willem’s choice of font is fun and changes in size to emphasize importance when Trixie “realized something”.
We see Trixie’s distress as she tries but is unable to tell her father what is wrong. Willem’s uses roughly drawn text in text bubbles to show how Trixie is communicating and why her father is having a hard time understanding. The front end paper gives readers a hint to the whereabouts of Knuffle Bunny. This is a unique and fun picture book for children.
Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book649 followers
August 11, 2017
This is a great story that our girls could relate to. It's about a Dad and a young toddler spending time together. But it's also about the struggle of that young toddler who is learning to talk and the frustration of the Dad who doesn't understand.

In addition, it's illustrated in a very unique way, using real photographs superimposed with cartoon characters. We've read this one a few times.

This book was selected as one of the books for the May 2017- Caldecott Honors 2003-2007 discussion at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads.
Profile Image for Klaudia Maniakowska.
43 reviews1 follower
May 5, 2015
Mo Willems does a beautiful job by juxtaposing the photographs depicting some background with the cartoon-like characters. The story of little Trixie and her toy is really poignant. In my opinion, the illustrations are so expressive that the text is, in fact, unnecessary. Trixie’s facial expression when she “realized something” is so telling that the readers are already aware what she realized. I enjoyed reading the book, and I felt as if I was watching some of Cartoon Network series.
Profile Image for Kris.
3,104 reviews70 followers
September 30, 2017
Ah, Knuffle Bunny is a classic for a reason. Funny and creative and a great read-aloud. I love the mix of cartoony illustrations and black and white photos, and the story is relatable to all parents and kids. I think my favorite part of the books is the expressions on the parents' faces, starting with the photo album in front.
Profile Image for Deborah.
759 reviews51 followers
April 19, 2022
Colorful cartoon characters populate brown and white urban photographs of a tale of a child’s first loss and first words. Sweet and moving.
18 reviews
April 2, 2016
Knoffle Bunny is described as a 'cautionary' tale. The main character Trixie and her beloved stuffed bunny are off on an errand with her father. They are going to the laundry mat to wash clothes. Trixie is happy to help her father. She is even allowed to put money into the machine. They left the laundry mat and made their way back home. After a couple of blocks Trixie realizes she doesn't have knuffle bunny. She begins to form words that don't sound like words to her dad because she had not yet started to make understandable words. He thinks she is just misbehaving and does not understand why she is so upset. When they arrive home Trixie's mother asks where her bunny is. They go back to the laundry mat and her father begins the tireless search for knuffle bunny. He finally finds it and Trixie calls out "KNUFFLE BUNNY", these are Trixie's first words.

Knuffle Bunny is unusual for a picture book because of the use of mixed media to tell the story. The illustrator uses photographs for the back round of the story and the characters are painted into the photographs. They appear to be a separate element but it works really well. The literary elements of the story are clear and the plot is well developed. The integration between the illustrations and the text enhance how the plot is unfolding. You see knuffle bunny in the machine as they walk away. When Trixie is trying to tell her father what is wrong. You can see by her expression she is becoming very upset. Her father's expression changes as well and the emotion of both characters are well explained in the illustrations. It is an outstanding representation of children's emotional communication before they have developed language.
Profile Image for Katie Carson.
48 reviews13 followers
September 29, 2009
I loved the images of this book; the way the black and white photos worked together with the bright, colorful illustrations, I really thought it brought the characters to life.

What really stuck out to me was Trixie's inability to verbalize her realization that she had left Knuffle Bunny behind. In working with young children, I am always curious as to what is behind those elated shouts of joy, the few heavy tears or the fits of absolute terror. Trixie's father expresses frustration with his daughter at one point in the book, however, Trixie knows how important getting her bunny back is to her. Willems does a great job of relaying the raw emotions of Trixie's character.

I also loved the foreshadowing at the laundromat, where you first see Knuffle Bunny in the basket while dad is reaching in for another handful of laundry. On the next page, you see the bunny's ears in the machine and on the following page, we see Knuffle Bunny staring out of the machine, almost in a plead to be released from the wash.

Very heartfelt story accompanied by awesome photos and illustrations.
Profile Image for Steve Holden.
477 reviews9 followers
April 29, 2017
On a reflective Saturday, it's time to pay some due to Mo Willems. While in college, Mo Willems became a big thing in the picture book world. This is my favorite series he has created, and I just love the tribute to his daughter, Trixie, in the form of Knuffle Bunny.

This is a beautiful book to page through and look at. The combination of photographs and cartoonish illustrations make for a wonderful presentation. When you factor in the moving story of a young girl and her favorite stuffed animal, you get a tale that draws connections to all! My age level in class is a bit old for this as a shared, read aloud book, but everyone knows about this and it makes for a steady reference in conversation.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,855 reviews

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