If you’re the parent or grandparent of a 2 to 5-year old, you must be living under a cone of kiddie lit isolation if you haven’t heard of the oh-so popular books by Mo Willems. Featuring the all-about-me Pigeon, the ever polite Duckling, best friends Elephant and Piggie, and more, the stories are presented in simple language, the illustrations charming, and the messages provide gentle guides on how to behave and be a good friend to others. The hilarious situations (e.g., should a pigeon drive the bus?) appeal to both kids and adults. One book, however, may have caused debate and disagreement in some households. It’s Knuffle Bunny. How does one pronounce “knuffle?” ‘The problem is hereby settled with this bit of research done by my fellow librarian, Kate. Here’s the skinny:
My granddaughter and I disagreed on the pronunciation the word in Mo Willem’s book. Here is the “definitive” answer.
Knuffle Bunny Too addresses a point of confusion raised by its predecessor: How do you pronounce k-n-u-f-f-l-e, a Dutch word that means “to snuggle or hug”? The fictionalized Trixie, a girl in the know, pronounces it the Dutch way, “ka-nuffle.” Sonja, her rival, says “nuffle.” Magnanimously, Willems said, “If you buy the book you can pronounce it any way you like.” He’s hardly in a position to split hairs, having learned — too late — that he goofed by transposing the “e” and the “l” in “knuffel” all through the original book.” After it was published, my mother said, ‘Why did you misspell it?’ ” His only excuse: “It didn’t come up on my spell check.”
I’m now going to agree with Leila and use “ka-nuffle.”