Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children, 2007
Genre: Picture Book
Age Level: K-2
2008 Caldecott Honor Book

Summary: This is the second book about Trixie and Knuffle Bunny. Trixie is excited to take her bunny for show and tell, but another young girl named Sonja has one, too. The two girls argue over whose is better, and the teacher takes them away. After school they get their bunnies back, and Trixie goes home. She does her nightly routine, but in the middle of the night she wakes up and realizes that this Knuffle Bunny is not hers. She immediately wakes up her Daddy, who hesitantly calls Sonja. They meet that night, or rather early morning, and exchange bunnies. The two girls are able to become best friends.

Response: Both stories about Trixie and Knuffle Bunny are hilarious. My favorite part about these books is the media used for the illustrations. The backgrounds are black and white photographs that Mo Willems has taken in his hometown of Brooklyn. He then adds hand drawn ink sketches, and colors them digitally. It makes for such a wonderful array of colors that pop off the black and white photos. The photos are placed on a blue background, which helps one to really notice the details of the black and white photos. My favorite black and white picture is the classroom. It has everything in place, even students pictures on the walls. The photographs and the sketches blend so well together, and it adds another dimension to the book. The pictures on the pages are not simply double page spreads that cover then entire page. There are several different photographs on pages, and some even flow off the page. My favorite is when Trixie and her Daddy are walking to school. They are in the blue background of the book, approaching the black and white photograph. It is such a creative media, and very simple. Children feel like they can recreate it. I love the emphasis placed on Trixie's eyes. They get huge every time something dramatic is about to take place. Also, at night, her white eyes glow against the dark backgrounds of the pictures. I love the picture of the meeting place for her and Sonja. It is actually a photograph of the city of Paris. Trixie's room has a drawing of the Pigeon from another series of books by Mo Willems. The most famous is probably Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. The text of the story is written in big black font that allows for an easy reading for beginning readers. The dialogue is written in colored bubbles. When Trixie talks, her bubble is colored pink, showing that she is a girly girl. The facial expressions in the book lead to great characterization of each character. This book has several literary elements that are shown very simplistic, and easy for young readers to pick up on.

Teaching Ideas: Mo Willems has an amazing and interactive website that the children can get on and find coloring pages and read about the books he makes. Mo Willems Website A great thing to do is have the children watch a behind the scenes video about Mo, so the can get a sense of who he is. All About Mo I think one thing I would definitely have my kids do is make their own books using photographs that I can take and bring into school. They then can make sketches and write their own story. This book gives great lessons about sharing and making friends. Maybe it would be fun to have a show and tell, especially with younger children. Make predictions based on what the inside cover shows (two Knuffle Bunnies). Talk about characterization because the facial expressions in this book give a lot of insight into what the characters are thinking and feeling. Kids will really be able to relate to this book, and it is great to compare this one to the first.

1 comment:

Dr. Frye said...

I love these books, too! You have very carefully attended to the illustrations! Excellent work! I am very impressed with your attention to the details! You have written a most impressive critique of this book! I appreciate the links to Mo's site! isn't it awesome? Thanks Lauren!