University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Field of Philosophy: Philosophy of language

Plot Summary: A man and his young daughter Trixie go to a laundromat. On their way home, Trixie realized something and said to her father “Aggle flaggle klabble,” to which the father responded, “That's right, we're going home.” But again, Trixie said “Aggle flaggle klabble,” then “Blaggle plabble! Wumby flappy?! Snurp.” Although her father tried to calm her down, Trixie started to cry. When they got home, Trixie's mother asked about Trixie’s favorite stuffed animal, “Where's Knuffle Bunny?” Realizing that they had forgotten it at the laundromat, the entire family went back to find Knuffle Bunny. At first they couldn't find it. After looking harder, Trixie's dad eventually found Knuffle Bunny. When he did, the story tells us, Trixie said her first words, “Knuffle Bunny!!”

Some discussion questions:


What do you think Trixie meant by “Aggle flaggle klabble”? What about “Blaggle plabble”? “Wumpy flappy”? “Snurp”?
Why couldn’t Trixie's Dad couldn't understand what Trixie meant when she spoke?
How do we know we understand each other?
Do we need words in order to communicate?
Do we mean the same things when we say the following words:
Happiness.
Dog.
Friend.
Tree.
Lake.
Green.
Sweet.
Scary.
Beautiful.
Book.
Baby.
Earth.
Toy.
Love.
Do you think the words “Knuffle Bunny” were Trixie's real first words? Why or why not?
If you think that they were not Trixie's first words, what were her actual first words? Why?
What is the difference between a word and gibberish? What makes a word a word? What makes gibberish gibberish?
Can gibberish have the same kind of meaning that a word can?
What does it require to know a word? For a word to have meaning?