So I didn’t get talk to Mo Willems at his author signing or hear him serve as color commentator for the book cart drills or see him accept the Carnegie Medal, as detailed at his site.
But I’ve got this, and I’m pretty happy. Notice the curvature of the book? That’s because I had to take a picture of the F&G or “fold and gather” because the picture isn’t even on Amazon yet. The distinctly amateur quality of the photo also makes it perfectly clear that I am not showing some sort of publicity shot, but a picture of the book in my very own home. Sitting right beside me on the black desk chair.
Not that I’m excited about it or anything.
Okay, I am excited about it. Not only because I have it early. Not only because I got it personally. Not only because I seem to be the first to review it. I am excited about it because it’s really great. Really, really great.
Start with the title: Knuffle Bunny Too. I love the wordplay of too and two, because both are accurate in this story. There is a Knuffle Bunny also, i.e., another KBunny featured, making two Knuffle Bunnies. Of course it’s the second book. And you know, we could take this one further and say that it could be to, as in Knuffle Bunny goes to PreK, because that’s how it all starts.
Trixie is walking to school with her daddy, and she’s all excited. She’s taking her favorite bunny to school to show all her friends. But then she sees another girl with the same Knuffle Bunny! Trixie is upset, and (in one of my favorite parts of the book) the girls argue about how to say the bunny’s name (“Kuh nuffle!” “Nuffle!”). The bunnies are removed from the girls and returned at the end of the day.
Now the subtitle of the book is A Case of Mistaken Identity. (Actually, it appears that the subtitle is A Case of Mistaken Identity by Mo Willems.) I’m sure that you, as an adult reader, can guess what happens next with the two bunnies. I suspect you can even guess at the eventual relationship between the two bunny owners. What you can’t guess is just how well this is done in the book. We follow Trixie home from school, and “at half-past bedtime, Trixie was tucked in, ready for sleep.” When Trixie realizes that something is WRONG (just like the first book), she marches into her parents’ bedroom to solve the problem. “Trixie’s daddy tried to explain what ‘2:30 a.m.’ means. He asked, ‘Can we deal with this in the morning?’”
The next four pictures in the book, all on one page, could stand forever for me as the tribute to the Mo genius. Trixie’s wide-eyed stare at dad never changes. The dad looks at Trixie with a sheepish grin. He looks at mom with a sheepish grin. The mom has one eyebrow raised. The dad looks back with worried awareness. And in the last picture Trixie is in bed with the mom, while Dad is out of the frame walking toward the phone, holding the bunny in one hand and scratching his lower back with the other.
I’ll leave you the rest of the book to enjoy without my commentary, but rest assured that it’s clever and funny, sweet and sensitive. Mo captures the parent-and-child relationship, and the resulting angst and hilarity perfectly. A spectacular follow-up to the first book, brilliantly done.
And did I mention I have a copy now, in my very house? Awesome.
Publication date September 14th for, you know, everyone else.