Every year we receive dozens of huggables to review—some sweet, some zany, and many overdone with fuzzy manes and dazzling doo-dads. Choosing the most wonderful ones is a task we look forward to each season. Although some parents consider soft dolls and stuffed animals nothing more than dust collectors, we know the importance of such playthings to children. Whether it's a teddy bear, a baby doll, a monkey, or a pooch, huggable toys are often the most long lasting and beloved toys. That bunny from Easter or the polar bear from Christmas, the teddy bear from a birthday are gifts of love that deliver their own warmth and security. They are a piece of home, comforting stuffed touchstones children carry with them as they go to the uncertain world of preschool or dreamland. They are playmates that listen complaints, long stories, and giant hopes. They will not talk back, unless a child wants them to; and then it will say only what the child wants to hear. Like budding playwrights, children can create both sides of any conversation.
Our grandsons had a much-loved collection of polar bears that not only had warm and wonderful names like Mama Kah-Tushi and Baby Kah-Tushi...they spoke and sang in a language, unique to Kah-Tushi Land. Being such good companions, they help children develop language, storytelling, and their imagination. Being bigger, children are empowered to control their huggables' every move—something they can rarely do in real life. Small enough to fill a small fist or ginormous enough to lean against, the many huggables in your child's life are far more than cute dust collectors.
Parents often ask if a stuffed toy is really interesting to today's kids who have so many choices—especially digital ones. Aren't they out of date? No, not at all! Never, we hope.