Between the Bookends – An Ode to Knuffle Bunny
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These moon and little astronaut bookends showcase books I would like on the moon. Someday the moon will be a vacation destination, and travelers will need books of some sort to pass the time. The now classic Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Williams offers something for parents and children. If my parents had read these when we were on vacation, we would all have been spared the grief and crying ensued.
For as long as I can remember, my family vacationed in a small cottage on the coast of Maine. Towards the end of our stay, I inadvertently left my teddy bear outside on a rock. He stayed there, forgotten for a couple of days until we drove out in our packed car home. We had not gone two miles before I asked for Teddy. (I realize that is an uninspired name, but I was only three or four.) Where was my bear? He was not beside me, nor was he in the trunk. My mother said I must have left Teddy behind, and it was too late to turn back.
I cried and begged my parents to turn back. They would not. I screamed all the to the Piscataqua River Bridge in Kittery, a four-hour drive in those days. My sister covered her ears. My tantrum became one of our family legends. Once we crossed the bridge, I knew we were at the point of no return. To my parents’ and sister’s relief, I fell asleep for the rest of the trip.
At home, my parents consoled me by claiming the next renters might find him and put him aside for me to discover next year. In truth, they thought I would forget about my bear, but they were wrong. For a whole year, I believed I would reunite with Teddy at the cottage. He was waiting for me.
I sure had missed him. He was plain with two little bead eyes, but he was my friend, and I loved him. Imagine my disappointment the following summer when I did not find my bear. Another year went by, and another. I still hoped that one day Teddy would find me, or I would find him. I never forgot the loss.
My mother was ninety years old before she told me the truth about Teddy. She told me that she had found him on a rock, soaked through from the rain. She did not want to deal with trying to dry him out, and she thought I would outgrow him soon enough. So, she threw him in the trash. Mom said she always regretted that decision.
If my parents had read the Knuffle Bunny series, it would have been a far different car ride many years ago. When I first read Knuffle Bunny as an adult, the book made me sad when I expected it to be funny. Then it hit me; someone understood. This books and its sequels can be guides for parents, not merely humorous books for kids.
All this brings me back to books I would put on the moon. Imagine going all the way to the moon and leaving a beloved toy behind. That would be an excruciating long space ride back to earth. Families vacationing on the moon would appreciate the guidance from Knuffle Bunny books.