Our up-close-and-personal encounter with Mo Willems – the “Knuffle Bunny Free” book tour

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

As I was counting the days until the release of Mo Willems’ new “Knuffle Bunny Free” book last week, I had made plans to visit our local bookstore this week and read it with my kids. So I visited Barnes & Noble this past Thursday with my two-and-a-half year old son, whose patience didn’t last beyond the moment where Trixie realizes something… How the heck can he walk away from the book right now? I wondered, as I frantically devoured the rest of the book while my son rushed to play with the Thomas train table. Gosh, I knew this was going to be the last of the Knuffle Bunny series, but I didn’t anticipate Mo Willems to finish it so well, including his personal note to the “real Trixie”. I cannot and do not want to imagine my boys growing up yet, so kudos to Willems for daring to do so in such a perfect way!

Back home, I felt the urge to read more about Willems, so I ended up visiting his website and then his blog. There I found out he just started a book tour for “Knuffle Bunny Free”. Secretly hoping he’d make a pit stop in San Diego, I scrolled through the tour dates and locations, and found the only California stop to occur in Mission Viejo, a 90-minute drive with traffic from our house, on this very Saturday! Well, I thought, when will an opportunity like this occur again in my kids’ life? Let’s seize the day and set off on an adventure!

So this morning, we packed our car for the day and drove North. We stopped for lunch at California Pizza Kitchen in Mission Viejo. There my four-year-old son asked me to take a look around every 10 minutes to check if Mo Willems was having lunch at a table next to us (he didn’t show up). After wolfing down our pizza and brownie sundae, we headed to the Civic Center and took a seat on the floor at the very front of the auditorium, impatiently waiting for Willems to appear. Where’s Mo Willems? kept asking my youngest. He’s coming, he’s coming… Finally, after a couple of introductions, Willems did appear, gave a short talk, and read his new Elephant and Piggy book “We are in a book”. Willems answered a few questions, then read “Knuffle Bunny Free“:

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free"

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free"

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free" - the dream of the Knuffle Bunnies

Mo Willems reading "Knuffle Bunny Free" - the dream of the Knuffle Bunnies

This was followed by more questions and answers. When someone asked him if everything in the Knuffle Bunny books was true, Willems answered “Everything in there is true, except for the parts that I made up“. Willems encouraged the kids in the room to stimulate their own imagination and reminded them that we’re all storytellers. Actually, I believe he said that creative writing assignments in school are the only times you’re encouraged to lie during your academic life. You go, Mo!

My kids got their Knuffle Bunny Free book dedicated and signed, and enjoyed a few minutes of free play with a larger-than-life Knuffle Bunny!

Fun times with Knuffle Bunny!

Fun times with Knuffle Bunny!

By the time we got back in the car and on the freeway, my two little guys were dreaming away, possibly of giant Knuffle bunnies, or maybe of decadent brownie sundaes, I’m not sure. We finished the day with another reading of “Knuffle Bunny Free” during story time. Ah, the perfect end to a really cool day… If my boys ever forget the day they met Mo Willems, it will be up to us, their parents, to tell them the story, again and again. Indeed, we all are storytellers.

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One response to “Our up-close-and-personal encounter with Mo Willems – the “Knuffle Bunny Free” book tour

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