When retailers head to Javits Center for Toy Fair, they most likely don’t have much time to concentrate on anything but placing bulk orders and figuring out what merchandise will fly off their shelves. (Well, if not fly, then at least leave speedily!) I annually vow that I will cover the enormous square acreage of the convention hall, but I always fail to meet that unrealistic goal. Perhaps when pigs fly, I’ll be able to say I saw and photographed it all!
As I traveled through the many aisles and showrooms, I was impressed by the diversity of species that were on display. There were animals of all stripes, sizes, breeds, and appearances. Some were spot-on depictions of creatures that actually prowl and survive in the wild. Others were more frivolous and fantasy-based. (Like I pointed out in a prior blog from Toy Fair 2017, unicorns — with sparkly horns and even wings — are poised to fly into shops everywhere this year.)
Regardless of whether the creation was a mirror image of a real-life lovely peacock (or one that had a flirtatious look about the eyelashes) or a majestic bird of prey, I was charmed by the variety that I encountered. A stroll across Toy Fair this year was akin to a day spent at Manhattan’s Central Park Zoo. There truly was a special kind of critter for everyone.
The Douglas booth had loads of plush pals, and I got a kick out of seeing the huge array of both wild denizens (lemurs, sloths, Arctic fox), as well as the much-closer-to-home domestic pets: lots of kittens, cats, puppies, and dogs.
I’ve confessed in past blogs that I have a soft spot in my heart for dogs and cats that boast the Art Deco color scheme of dark black combined with shiny white. My own cat is a gorgeous Tuxedo, and I always joke about her that she’s constantly dressed for the most formal occasion, whereby her constant napping would be better served with a pair of PJs. (My apologies, dear kitty, but you do snooze more than any cat I’ve ever encountered. She’s like a four-legged Sleeping Beauty.)
On the entirely oppositional color spectrum, Russ also had a huge splash of bright, vivid, cheerful hues with its bouquet of spring creatures. Like a holiday treat basket that has happily arrived early, the bunnies of the Yomiko Classics imprint were awash in brilliant tones: beige, pink, and purple.
Their little chick companion was a realistic yellow, and together the quartet was an exercise in Easter cuteness! They really are the perfect accent pieces to add to a goodie basket or to add on top of a brightly wrapped present. So, so adorable!
Another spring sighting that put a smile on my face were the bunnies galore at the Manhattan Toy booth. Yep, it’s true what they say. Bunnies, when left to their own devices, do indeed multiply big-time.
There were tons of bunnies and rabbits running the gamut from glossy white ones to imaginative rainbow-colored ones at Javits Center. Manhattan Toy’s treatment of rabbits was so soft to the touch. Their fur was deep and invited lots of hands-on touching. The Manhattan Toy bunny brigade is ideal for both adult collectors and children who are seeking a naptime buddy.
Folkmanis also had a puppy puppet that merges the feel of realism with an aura of relaxation and comfort. Like a certain Tuxedo cat I know personally, when dogs are, likewise, at peace with their surroundings and home, they tend to take long, recharging naps. The Folkmanis dog puppets look as good in a restful position as they do when they are being manipulated on a puppeteer’s hand. The little Cocker Spaniel–looking puppet was so sweet as it lay dozing that it made everyone want to pick it up and try it out. So much for letting sleeping dogs lie!
No trip to the zoo, whether it is a literal visit or a figurative romp, is complete without a stop at the gorilla cage. Mary Meyer has a lineup of child-friendly characters called the FabFuzz. I liked the pairing of the floppy, tiny pink piglet with the grinning, personable ape. Not since King Kong fell — literally — for the beauty of Fay Wray has there been such a charming yet odd pairing. What a great duo — the little hog and the great big beast. It’s both off-beat and totally on track!
Well, I hope you enjoyed my romp at the zoo. Like Simon and Garfunkel once sang:
Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo
I do believe it
I do believe it’s true.
Toy Fair 2017 was truthfully a marvelous menagerie of all manner of beasts — all creatures great and small. I’m glad I had the chance to share some with you!