Toy Fair 14 was a spectacular, four-day event held at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City from February 16 to 19. Manufacturers from across the country gathered to debut new items, display classics, and make connections with retailers, buyers, and the press. We here at The Toy Book took the opportunity to forge new professional relationships, engage companies with whom we have established relationships, and discover new companies. As I walked the floors checking out the plush items, I saw dozens of great designs that I loved. Big, small, fat, tall—you name it, it was at Toy Fair. Some plush is cute, some is realistic, some is abstract, some is sculptural. While I appreciate all plush, there were some pieces in particular that really caught my eye.

toothpickToothpick, from GUND, was my hands-down, No. 1, absolute favorite plush at the show. I was already “aww!”-ing at the other bears on the wall in the GUND booth when my eyes landed on Toothpick’s skinny little body with his big, cute head and brown corduroy nose. His body is surprisingly sturdy, letting him sit up easily, but is still soft and cuddly. The material that GUND used for Toothpick’s fur is also super-soft, and has an almost curly sort of look to it. He is just adorable.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 3.17.33 PMFiesta also impressed me with its plush display. The Comfies line was very cute, and featured small and large sized animals (mom and baby!) made of squishy, snuggly, soft material. The polar bear has big paws and an interesting tone of white fur. Fiesta’s amusement line includes the new Hello Kitty circus collection, including Hello Kitty in a variety of circus outfits, such as a clown suit or top hat, as well as dressed in circus animal costumes. My favorite of all, however, was Fiesta’s New Round line. These plush animals were unlike anything else I saw at Toy Fair, because they were squishy and cubicle! Naturally, I loved the shark, but it was hard to pick a favorite because they were all so cute. I also loved that they included a billy goat in the line, because you don’t see many goats in the plush category.

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 3.38.27 PMDEMDACO had a lot of new items for 2014, including a new partnership with Zutano. Using Zutano’s signature colorful printed fabrics, DEMDACO has designed a line of plush animals. Among my favorites from this line are the dinosaur, which is made of dinosaur-print fabric (!), and a dark brown bear with a Zutano shirt. Also from DEMDACO is a purple zebra plush that I thought was awesome. The fabric is a deep plum color, and has a very subtle stripe to it, but in an abstract way that doesn’t scream “zebra.” It’s classy and different, and takes on an artistic vibe.

Plush is a vast category that has countless iterations. There’s something for everyone—from realistic wildlife to neon polka-dot monsters, there’s always plush to love.

For more commentary from Christine, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!