Knuffle Bunny

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Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Front cover, designed by Mo Willems
AuthorMo Willems
IllustratorMo Willems
Cover artistWillems
CountryUnited States
SeriesKnuffle Bunny Series
SubjectFamilies, Neighborhoods, Growing up, First words
Genrechildren's books
picture books
PublisherHyperion Books, New York
Publication date
October 2, 2004
Media typeHardcover
[E] 22
LC ClassPZ7.W65535 Knu 2004
Preceded byN/A 
Followed byKnuffle Bunny Too 

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale ( pronounced k-nuffle[1]) is a classic children's picture book written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Released by Hyperion Books in 2004, Knuffle Bunny received the 2005 Caldecott Honor.[2] The story spawned an animated short film and a musical play, as well as two sequels. The Knuffle Bunny Series has sold more than 750,000 copies.[3] The series' protagonist, Trixie, is named after Willems's real-life child.[3]


Trixie Willems steps lively as she and her father, Mo Willems, walk down the block, through the park, past the school, to the laundromat. For the toddler, loading and putting money into the machine evokes wide-eyed pleasure. But on the return home, she realizes that her stuffed rabbit, Knuffle Bunny, has been left behind. Because she cannot talk, Trixie cannot explain to Mo why she is upset. Despite his plea of, "Now, please don't get fussy," she gives it her all, bawling and going "boneless." They both arrive home unhappy. Cheryl, Trixie's mother, immediately understands that Knuffle Bunny is missing. The three run back to the laundromat, and after several tries, Mo finds the toy among the wet laundry, and claims hero status. The toddler exuberantly exclaims, "Knuffle Bunny!!!" — her first words.


Kirkus Reviews wrote, "The natural audience for this offering is a little older than its main character: they will easily identify with Trixie’s grief and at the same time feel superior to her hapless parent—and rejoice wholeheartedly at the happy reunion."[4] Publishers Weekly asserted that Willems "creates an entertaining story for parents and children alike." and "once again demonstrates his keen insight with a story both witty and wise."[5] Common Sense Media described it as "a charming book for all ages,"[6] and Inis magazine of Children's Books Ireland wrote, "Mo Willems’s book has a unique style that draws you in."[7]

In other media[edit]

The story's audio version, narrated by Mo, Cheryl, and Trixie Willems, received the 2007 Audie Award for Children's Titles for Ages up to 8. It also spawned an animated short, which won the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video in 2007. The book was also adapted into a musical, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical, by Willems, Michael Silversher, and Deborah Wicks La Puma.[8] It toured with the Kennedy Center to cities all across the United States.[9]

A Knuffle Bunny stuffed toy was released by the Yottoy Productions.

In 2019, the Park Slope branch of the Brooklyn Public Library unveiled a statue of Knuffle Bunny. Park Slope was chosen because it is the setting of the books and was the home of the author at the time of their writing. [10]

The story is read on an episode of the PBS children's show Between the Lions.


In August 2007, a sequel, Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity was published. The sequel picks up with the original book's main character, Trixie, three years later. In September 2010, Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion was released, completing the trilogy.[3] The final installment features an epilogue in which Willems sends a poignant message to his real daughter, Trixie,[11] wishing her well in her life as an adult.


  1. ^ "Mo Willems: 'I Want My Books To Be Played'". 12 February 2015. Retrieved 28 July 2020.
  2. ^ American Library Association: Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938–Present.
  3. ^ a b c Lodge, Sally. "Mo Willems, on 'Knuffle Bunny Free'," Publishers Weekly (Sep 09, 2010).
  4. ^ "Knuffle Bunny A cautionary Tale". Kirkus Media LLC. 1 August 2004. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  5. ^ "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale". PWxyz LLC. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale". Common Sense Media Inc. 2013-03-26. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  7. ^ Quinn, Sine. "Knuffle Bunny". Inis Magazine. Children's Books Ireland (13). Archived from the original on 28 September 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
  8. ^ "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical: Kennedy Center Version (2010)," Music Theatre International. Accessed Oct. 24, 2017.
  9. ^ "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical: A Kennedy Center production about family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime," The Kennedy Center: Artsedge. Accessed Oct. 24, 2017.
  10. ^ Graham, Aidan (2019-06-28). "Park Slope Library unveils statue of famed Knuffle Bunny • Brooklyn Paper". Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  11. ^ "Mo Willems' Secrets for Raising a Reader,"[dead link]