Plush is not just about stuffed teddies anymore. At North American International Toy Fair, there were dozens of companies with plush on display—ranging from traditional bears, to robotic plush, to artistic plush. Creative plush designs are especially cool because they appeal to both kids and adults. The right plush piece can even add a unique design element to a room, and many of these types of plush characters are great gift ideas for expectant parents who are waiting to find out their little one’s gender, since they have a gender-neutral heirloom quality to them that makes them extra special.
Woolbuddy is a do-it-yourself plush character kit for anyone age 12 and up. Users create artist Jackie Huang’s whimsical character designs using a simple technique called felting. To create a Woolbuddy, loose wool is formed into the desired shape and then simply poked with a needle, which tangles the wool and causes it to keep its shape. Huang’s designs include an angler fish, a frog, a narwhal, a dragon, an elephant, and more.
Organic Baby Blankie Bat (Apple Park)
Apple Park offers a beautiful line of organic toys and comfort objects for babies. This year, the company has added a bat to its Organic Patterned Blankie line. While bats are often seen within the contexts of Halloween or to depict something scary, Apple Park has managed to make a sweet, snuggly bat with soft grey fabric and a beautiful navy blue contrasting pattern with delicate stars. There are also baby slippers and a soft rattle to match.
Night Buddies (Fiesta Toy)
Night Buddies are adorable plush characters that have big round eyes that light up. In addition to the more traditional animals in the line, such as an orca, a shark, and a turtle, Night Buddies are available as a plump airplane, a racecar, and a cool monster truck. Their shapes are fun and unique, and their eyes add a pop (literally!) to each piece. The soft light that glows in each Night Buddy’s eyes are programmed to shut off automatically, giving kids a comforting, restful sleep and saving battery life for up to two years.
Zoobic Friends (DEMDACO)
Zoobic Friends are tall, rectangular plush figures from DEMDACO. Available in Bear, Elephant, or Giraffe, Zoobic Friends are soft and cute, and add an unexpected element to any kid’s plush collection.
Magicforest uses a beautiful palette of neutrals, rich colors, and deep hues to create gorgeous plush pieces that border on sculptural art. The three cat collection features three different stuffed cats that are made of different colors, textures, and embellishments. One cat has a bird, one has a fish, and one has a mouse. Different patterned fabrics highlight each cat’s ears, and fun elements such as tulle or curled jersey fabrics add a special touch to their shoes. Magicforest’s plush collection also features other whimsical characters, such as a fox.
Flattso, from Aurora, is a line of flat, square plush. While not designed to officially be a pillow, they would make a great travel companion for a comfy nap on a plane or in the car. Flattsos come in a several animal styles: hedgehog, tiger, panda, elephant, and giraffe.
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!