If you’re like me, you’ve never met a color that you didn’t like. One of my past bosses once said it had to be because of my years as a parochial-school student. She was positive that my being forced to conform in grays and navy blues gave me a “super partiality” to anything that was bright, colorful, overly patterned, and brilliantly luminescent. I know that many people see Rainbow Brite as an annoying cartoon character; I see her as my potential avatar! She’s a kindred spirit of mine in very many ways.
So, I am particularly happy that 2016 is kicking off with such a degree of bold, splashy color choices in the plush world. As I was sauntering around Toy Fair — no, I wasn’t mounted on a horse named Starlite, like Miss Brite would be — I noticed that there was a riot of vivid color everywhere. It made my heart smile and my eyes go wide with wonder. A bright beacon of color was certainly emanating from North American Bear. One of their most eagerly anticipated lines this season is the partnership they’ve forged with juvenile-clothing and kid-friendly home décor designer Amy Coe. North American Bear and Coe have joined forces to brighten up nurseries and collectors’ personalities everywhere. Many of the bears that she is standing behind, like the dazzling Gigi (above), are awash with colors that can’t be found in nature. The Coe colors are vibrant and absolutely perfect for bear fanciers of all ages. Gigi comes with a message: “You are my favorite.” I think a lot of tween and teen bear fanciers will be feeling the exact same way about her.
Another very bold and boisterous bear from Amy Coe is the jersey Coco bear. Proclaiming that it’s been created for the “Coolest kid ever,” this bear has a very boho chic look to it. I think it will definitely be popular with moms and children. Its shabby chic vibe makes it both a great asset for room decorating, as well as a cuddle buddy for kids who still settle down for afternoon naps. Coco is truly one cool dude! (Or is it a dudette?)
Also complementing the Amy Coe bears is a lineup of snuggly, soft dogs based on the children’s book sensation Todd Parr. These pooches are absolutely adorable. Mirroring Parr’s illustrations, these canine companions will definitely cross over the line from kiddie favorites to grown-up collectibles. I’ve always been a cat fancier, but even I found myself drawn to these pups.
The Fiesta booth at Toy Fair was definitely one of the most flamboyant locales. No one could walk by without having to do a rubbernecking, double-checking abrupt stop. The Tutu Sweet gang is an assortment of all types of critters clad in ballet costumes (obviously). They really are too-too cute for words. Besides looking very pretty and charming, the Tutu Sweet offerings have a very soft and pliable feel to them. Again, these are ideal for both young kids who want to physically hug their plush pals and for the grown-up aficionado as well.
Okay, I know for sure I’m not in this TV program’s demographic. In fact, I’d never even heard of this property until I arrived at Toy Fair. Apparently, “Shimmer & Shine” is a Nickelodeon TV show about two little girls who just happen to be genies-in-training. They have a close relationship but are occasionally rivals, too, since they are twin sisters. They get into all kinds of scrapes and have calamitous adventures that they often have to work hard to resolve. The lessons that they learn are that no mistake is permanent; there is no reason to ever give up; perseverance and ingenuity will always help you out of a fix! That’s a great message to impart, and Wicked Cool Toys (WCT) and Mattel both have versions of the characters on hand.
At WCT, the Bengal cub, Nahal, which is Shine’s pet tiger, was especially adorable. Its anime-style eyes were huge and very cute. The detailing on its fur was quite well done, too.
Finally, breaking away from the pink-and-purple brigade, I got a kick out of GUND’s very popular Pusheen the cat franchise. I always like seeing the innovations they dream up. For this season, Pusheen has been given a colorful face-lift and a body re-imagining. I was very impressed by the normally beige cat’s transformation into a mint green fantasy creation.
Nebulous enough so it can appeal to both dinosaur AND dragon collectors (count me as the latter), the colorful, rotund cat is extremely sweet and so soft to the touch. This is a delightful way to imagine a plush pal — its “skin” tone is reminiscent of a big scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream. All I can say is “Yum, double yum!”