I chose three Mo Willems books for this author study (the next two will be revealed in later posts... or go see them in the Literacy Launchpad Store), all with varying types of illustrations. This is one of the things I love about Willems' work: he has diversity in his illustrative work, while still maintaining a signature style.
So onto Knuffle Bunny... that's what this post is supposed to be about, right? Such unique illustrations! Willems took photographs of his neighborhood, set them in a sepia tone, enlarged them, and used them as the backgrounds for the illustrations. I heard him say in an interview that he enjoyed this technique, because he hates drawing backgrounds. Ha! The characters and such in this book are all still his classic-style ink drawings, placed onto the photographs.
I also heard him say in an interview (perhaps the same one I just referenced?) that this was an autobiographical story. The family in the book is supposedly based on his family. How cool!
What happens in the story is that Trixie, a toddler, goes with her dad to the local laundromat. She brings her Knuffle Bunny along with her (we are to assume that Knuffle Bunny is a much beloved stuffed animal of hers). Trixie then accidentally leaves Knuffle Bunny at the laundromat. She tries to tell her dad, but since she can only babble jibberish (remember, she's a toddler), her dad does not understand her.
Upon returning home, Mom asks where Knuffle Bunny is, and dad suddenly realizes what Trixie had been trying to tell him on the way home. They all rush back to the laundromat and eventually find Knuffle Bunny. The story concludes with Trixie exclaiming, "Knuffle Bunny," as her first words.
Much of this story is told with the illustrations. The dad's expressions are just priceless. And the sarcasm used throughout the narration really makes me giggle. Like I said earlier, I can't wait to see how much of it my students pick up on.
Obviously, this is a tale that I think most little kiddos (and parents) can probably relate to. It's simple, yet clever and engaging. I really enjoyed it! And will be enjoying it again, and again, and again tomorrow!
Have you read Knuffle Bunny? How 'bout its sequel, Knuffle Bunny Too? Do ya like? Dislike? Do tell!
Stay tuned for photos from our lesson we'll be doing tomorrow.