Stuffed animals often are a child's first friends. Some even become lifelong
buddies who follow grown children to college dorms and later to nurseries
for their own children.
A leader in stuffed bear manufacturing, Gund (ToyDirectory)
continues to offer a wide range of plush bears. Huggins
($15-$25), a super-soft cuddler, comes in cream and brown in 12-inch and
Aurora's Mother Pig
Aurora's White Owl
Fuzzy Town's Baby Lions
Wild Republic's Pomeranian
Wild Republic's Orange Tabby
North Amercian Bear’s Guy Bear™
But bears are not the only animals in the collectible plush toy market.
All manner of beasts are available, including bison, donkeys, opossums,
manta rays, sea turtles, manatees and dinosaurs. An attention to detail
makes these creatures vividly lifelike, and very collectible.
offers a wide range of animals from different habitats. In their farm
line, a 14-inch Mother Pig is available with three attached
piglets ($28), as well as an 11-inch Lamb
($14.49), a 12-inch Cow ($15.49) and a 15-inch Clydesdale
Draft Horse ($22.49). Aurora’s jungle animals, like a 12-inch
Orangutan ($54), look realistic but still have an air
of whimsy, as do their line of birds, including a 9-inch White
also mixes realism with playfulness in their line of jungle and farm animals.
They make unusual animals, like Hedgehogs (8-inch high,
$8) and a line of desert animals, including a 16-inch Iguana ($10-$12),
a 19-inch Armadillo ($15-$18) and a 10-inch Camel
has two new lines that depart from the norm of plush designs. Leggz
are cartoonish animals made in neon "eye lash" plush with poseable
legs, allowing them to stand in unique poses or even wrap around a bedpost,
available in heights from 48 to 14 inches. Funny Feet have a design
which gives familiar animals a unique “bell-bottom” look. Available in
heights from 7.5-18 inches.
and Incredible Petables (ToyShow)
also have large menageries of creatures for the animal lover. Purrfection
makes a 21-inch Elephant ($39.99), a 24-inch Manatee
($19.99), a 14-inch Sea Turtle ($12.99) and a cute 14-inch
Baby Calf ($19.99). Among Incredible Petables’ diverse
line includes a 12-inch Longhorn Steer, a 19-inch Dolphin
and an 11-inch Mountain Goat, each for $22.49.
Wild Republic (ToyShow)
stakes its reputation on creating extremely lifelike plush animals. It
produces an array of realistic birds, like the adorable 5-inch Tufted
Titmouse ($7.99). Douglas Cuddle Toys(ToyDirectory)
manufactures plush dogs and cats in a variety of breeds with realistic
facial expressions that mark them as individual as anyone’s real pet.
Most major breeds are available, including Beagles and
Collies, but they also carry exotic breeds like a 11-inch
Pomeranian ($24), a 17-inch Maltese
($18) and a 16-inch Bichon Frise ($17). Their cat line
has a number of domestic shorthaired breeds, including a fluffy16-inch
Orange Tabby ($17). They also make horses
For pure whimsy, Fuzzy Town (ToyShow)
offers stuffed jungle cats with personality, like a pair of Baby
Lions, a 10-inch version for $15.49 and a 14-inch model for $19.99.
For those who desire a more rough and tumble teddy, North Amercian
Bear’s Guy Bear™ at a hefty 25 inches tall,
has the look of a real black bear—minus the buffalo check bow—and is machine-washable
(in case of salsa spills).
Preferred Plush’s new Jungle Interactive
animals ($12.50 each) stand 9.5 inches tall and can form a singing trio:
Lion, Tiger and Leopard, or each can perform a solo rendition of “The
Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Up to 16 members can form a virtual plush choir.
Writer's Bio: The mother of two grown children
(an artist and a musician), writer Janie Franz once was a radio announcer
and did booking for a rock band.