Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical

A Kennedy Center production about family, best friends, baby steps, and memories that last a lifetime.


Age range: Good for 7-12 year olds

Estimated Time: Give yourself some time! This interactive takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Key Technology: Teachers can choose to stream this video on a computer and project it onto a screen or whiteboard with speakers or to let students watch individually on computers with headphones.

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This video explores the casting and production of Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical. Viewers will go behind the scenes to see how the puppeteers and actors brought this popular children’s story to life.

Think About...

Viewing Strategy: As you watch, stay focused on your purpose. Find out how this children’s story was adapted into a musical.

Before you get started, think of what you already know about Knuffle Bunny and about musical theater. Keep this in mind as you watch the video clips.

As you watch, compare and contrast the ways in which the puppeteers work differently from the actors. Also, consider how the puppeteers brought to life the different characters and inanimate objects (e.g.: the laundry).


  • What is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical about?
  • What happens at the Laundromat?
  • What is Trixie’s relationship to Knuffle Bunny?

Critical Thinking

  • What are some of the challenges faced by both the actors and the puppeteers in Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical?
  • Why is it a “cautionary musical?”

Quiz Yourself!

  • How many performers were on stage during Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical?
  • Who and what were shown as puppets?

Learn More

Dig Deeper!

Visit author Mo Willems’ web site and learn more about him, Knuffle Bunny, the pigeon and more! http://www.mowillems.com/

For the Educator

Read this article in which Willems says, “these are love letters to my child but also about parenthood and that beautiful bittersweetness you feel as your child grows up.”
  • Have students discuss what they think it would be like to be a parent and what would be hardest or easiest about it.
  • Consider having students work in small groups of four or five based on their favorite stories. Have them work together to create a dramatic interpretation of one or more of the scenes from the book they have chosen. Be sure that at least one of the characters takes the form of a puppet which can be manipulated by the students.
  • Have a Newbury and Caldecott awards festival in which each of the books nominated are presented in skits by students. Students could also create sock or paper bag puppets of one of the characters in the nominated books. The puppets could have a ”panel discussion” about their feelings, concerns, experiences, commonalities, and so on.

If you've ever felt lost, then you'll know just how Trixie's favorite stuffed Knuffle Bunny feels when he's left all alone. If you've ever felt loved, then you'll know just how Trixie, Knuffle Bunny, and their family feel when they're together.

It sounds so simple, just a quick trip to the Laundromat with Daddy, Trixie, and her beloved Knuffle Bunny. But, before you know it things go horribly, hilariously wrong. Chock full of adventure, song, and gigantic dancing laundry, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical tells a tale of firsts: a stuffed animal's first trip in the laundry, a little girl's first words, and a Daddy's first time dealing with his child going "boneless."

Based on his beloved Caldecott Honor–winning picture book, six-time Emmy Award winner Mo Willems joins Grammy Award–winning composer Michael Silversher to lovingly celebrate the heart and heartache that can only come from a family visit to the local Laundromat.

Instructional Strategies

  • Begin by reading the Knuffle Bunny trilogy to the class.
    • Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
    • Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity
    • Knuffle Bunny Free: an Unexpected Diversion (expected Fall 2010)
  • Discuss how students would cast different characters from the stories.
    • Which characters would be puppets?
    • Which characters would be played by actors?



Daniella Garran
Original Writer

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