picture books · slice of life

The Knuffle Bunny Laundromat

It’s been a long time since I lived in Manhattan (Almost eight years!) so I forgot how the City feels on Easter Sunday.  After doing some research, I realized a lot of museums, zoos, and gardens were open today.
While a museum seemed like a good idea, I  wanted to show Isabelle some of the places featured in the Knuffle Bunny books since she always says she wants to go there.  THERE can range from public school which is much taller than her school to the playground to Grand Army Plaza where Trixie and Sonya meet in the middle of the night to exchange their bunnies. I googled “Knuffle Bunny Tour” and found this article.
My parents are originally from Brooklyn so convincing them to drive to Brooklyn for the day wasn’t too tough.  We hopped in the car after spending some time at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum.  First, we drove around my mom’s old neighborhood, where she lived until she was almost ten-years-old.  Next, we drove in the opposite direction towards Grand Army Plaza.  But Isabelle was snacking in the backseat at this point, so I don’t think she was able to crane her neck out of her car seat to take in the grandeur of the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Arch. So, we kept driving.
Isabelle screeched and giggled and flailed her arms when we pulled up in front of the laundromat from Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. After all, she was going to take her teddy bear on a visit to the place where Trixie said her first words.  Once her excitement waned, we got her out of the car.  I walked behind as Isabelle and her Daddy walked down the block and into the Laundromat.
FYI: The awning has changed since the book was published.
  •  I was expecting to see a sign denoting the actual machine where Knuffle Bunny was washed.  But I didn’t.
  •  I was expecting to see the letter M on the actual machine pictured in Knuffle Bunny.  But I didn’t.
  •  I was expecting to have a déjà-vu moment since I’ve read Knuffle Bunny so many times.  But I didn’t.
 Instead, I saw a bunch of washing machines, most of which had clothes in them, on the right and dryers on the left.  I counted up 13 washing machines from the entrance of the Laundromat and deemed that “the” washing machine.  I told Isabelle that was the one where Daddy rescued Knuffle Bunny for Trixie.  She believed me.  Thankfully, it’s easy to convince a four-year-old of a half-truth like this.
If you enlarge this photo, you’ll find a statement that says the machine should not be used by children. Imagine if Trixie’s daddy had read that? She never would’ve loaded Knuffle Bunny into the machine while helping him with the laundry (and then we’d never have this story).

 

Regardless of the difference between the way the Laundromat looked in the book to the way it looked in person (the awning is new!), Isabelle was delighted she went to a place she’s only seen a picture book.
She’s also been asking to go to the sidewalk cafe in A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding and Allison Jay.  That book is set in 19th century Vienna.  While I don’t think it’d be possible to find the illustrated sidewalk cafe that’s pictured on the final page spread of A Gift for Mama, I know I wouldn’t mind meandering around the streets of Vienna with my family in search of the sidewalk cafe that looked most like the one in that book.  Just sayin’.
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29 thoughts on “The Knuffle Bunny Laundromat

  1. That is fabulous that there is a Knuffle Bunny tour. My daughter loves NYC, & the girls love Knuffle Bunny-a reason for a trip? Ha! But I think someday you might have that trip to Vienna, Stacey. Sounds also fabulous.

  2. What a gorgeous adventure. I’m inspired to do like you and try some photo journalism ony next blog entry.
    So nice to have those memories .
    I will be sharing your story with my own Littles. Especially loved your side note commentary on what surprised you!
    My daughter is born on Bastille day, so when she turns 18, I’ve promised to take her to the Eiffel Tower to watch fireworks like Madeline would in her two straight lines.

  3. How very cool! Tonight I will show the pics to my husband. Tomorrow I will show them to my kids, and then, I will share your blog with an elementary teacher friend who is absolutely crazy about Mo Willems. Isn’t it funny how as grown ups we look for a sign or a plaque, and your Isabelle is thrilled by just being in the moment in the setting?

  4. What a gift you give Isabelle. It is very hard for my Southern California children to understand the cityscapes in so many books. I understand so much more and have such a connection to the places I’ve read about. I’m thinking there should be, (maybe is ?) a google maps program attached to every book!

  5. What an awesome idea! I think she will remember this forever! It makes me think of all the book tours I would like to go on. In our yearbook for thsi year we had to list a superpower we would like to have, mine was meeting fictional book characters.

  6. What a great Slice of Life! Isabelle is so lucky that you can connect the world of picture books to real life. Isabelle is such a lucky four year old! I hope you do get to go to Vienna to explore and make some connections as you wonder and make memories with Isabelle.

  7. Love this! What a great idea and a wonderful book for Isabelle. I love reading your posts about her- reminds me of a time when….. treasure every moment, every meltdown, every exhausting day –I feel too young to say it…. but it goes so quickly!
    Clare

  8. I don’t know Knuffle Bunny very well, but I did share this one with a second grader this year. How wonderful that you could give Isabelle this experience. New York is such a foreign place to us down south.

  9. “I know I wouldn’t mind meandering around the streets of Vienna with my family in search of the sidewalk cafe that looked most like the one in that book” – Ditto.

  10. I wish I could take little Isabelle to the cafe in Vienna pictured in my book, A GIFT FOR MAMA. The two of us would sip “heisse schokolade” and talk books! Maybe someday…But I love how you’re bringing books alive for your little reader. What a wonderful idea!

  11. What a lucky girl to walk in Knuffle Bunny’s footsteps! Who knew there was a tour? I think I’d like to meander around NYC for a while and see those sights too! As for Vienna, you might not find the exact sidewalk cafe but it would sure be great to try! 🙂

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