Farewell Tour: Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems
One day, not so long ago, Trixie took a big trip with her family.
They were on their way to visit Trixie's "Oma" and "Opa" in Holland.
Holland is far away.
It's bon voyage for Knuffle Bunny, Trixie's beloved floppy stuffed pal. Of course, Trixie can't travel without Knuffle, and he's treated to a taxi ride, a trip down the airport security's conveyor belt and through the scanner, and finally Trixie climbs aboard the big transcontinental jet with him tucked under her arm.
It's a long flight across the Big Pond; Trixie plays with Knuffle Bunny, reads her Elephant and Piggie books, and snoozes until her parents shake her awake when the plane comes in for a landing.
It's very exciting as they make their way at last to Oma's and Opa's front door, where they are welcomed with open arms and her own WELCOME TRIXIE! sign. Finally Daddy and Opa settle down with cups of coffee to begin catching up, and Oma takes Trixie outside to the garden with a big glass of chocolate milk. Trixie smiles at her grandmother.
Suddenly Trixie realized something!
Trixie didn't tell her daddy that Knuffle Bunny was gone.
She didn't have to.
Trixie's face tells all. And besides, Daddy's been through this a few times before. A hasty call to the airline confirms the worst.
The plane had left for CHINA.
Trixie's parent urge her to be brave. Daddy tells her about losing his "Special Lamby," and Oma reminds her that she is getting to be a big girl now. Trixie sees the logic behind it all, even though she's a little sad to accept what comes with being a big girl.
Still, it's like the sunshine isn't shining so brightly over Holland anymore. Oma and Opa buy her a new bunny, an electronic Funny-Bunny Wunny-Doll Extreme, that announces (in Dutch) "IK KAN DANSEN!"
It's not the same. But bravely Trixie soldiers on and manages to have some fun with her doting grandparents. Then on the next-to-last night she has a dream of Knuffle Bunny's continuing adventures as he flies across the world to make children happy wherever he lands.
THE NEXT MORNING TRIXIE FELT BETTER.
Then it's time for the return trip. A seasoned traveler now, Trixie buckles herself into the middle seat as the plane takes off to the sad sound of the baby in the seat behind wailing disconsolately. And then...
TRIXIE NOTICED SOMETHING...
Yes, it is Knuffle Bunny, stuffed into the seatback pocket right in front of her! It's like a miracle. Daddy and Mommy smile with joy to see Trixie embrace her oft lost-and-found pal.
But then there is "an unexpected diversion." Trixie stands up in the seat with Knuffle Bunny and they look back at the still wailing baby behind them.
"WOULD YOUR BABY LIKE MY KNUFFLE BUNNY?" SAID TRIXIE.
"REALLY?" ASKED DADDY... AND MOMMY ... AND THE BABY'S MOTHER.
"BLAGGIE PLAGGIE? SAID THE BABY.
"REALLY." SAID TRIXIE.
Mo Willem's evocative conclusion to this series, Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion (Balzer & Bray, 2010), is the story of a long journey in more ways than one. It's hard to say goodbye to Knuffle Bunny and Trixie, just as it's hard to say goodbye to those harrowing but exquisite early years as children begin to grow into their future selves. There are joyful hellos here for Trixie, but also a symbolic and poignant farewell to a part of her life it is time to leave behind. Willems consoles himself (and us) with a final "Note to Trixie" in which he foresees her eventual first-born son and the arrival of a UPS man with a box containing a Knuffle Bunny look-alike for her toddler, signed
From an old pen-pal.