Children’s Literary Toys: Yottoy and Beyond
The advantage to having a new baby is that you find yourself introduced to whole worlds tangentially related to children’s literature that you might have missed prior to giving birth to live young. For example, I’m not one of those women who owns a lot of toys. Toys are great. I am pro-toy. However, before having kids I saw no reason to have them in my home. Then the small Bird comes along and BAM! Suddenly toys become a top priority.
Recently I’ve been getting a fair number of stuffed animals and things from my friends in the industry. For example, there was the Penguin Books penguin (thanks, Scottie!):
This adorable kitty from an unknown Karen Katz book (thanks, Alex!):
A stuffed horse that almost looks like it’s from Eric Carle’s upcoming The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and that is so attractive you’d swear it stepped out of a Chagall painting (thanks, Carle folks!):
But one of the toys I received came with a book. I’m sure you know which one:
Tis Harry! That doggone dirty dog (thanks, Jennifer!). The toy and book, as it happens, came from a toy company called Yottoy Productions. I’d never really heard of them before, so I figured I’d check ’em out. See what the deal was. Turns out, the company pairs characters from children’s books with the books themselves. You can get modern folks like Mo Willems or an obscure H.A. Rey (Katy No-Pocket, anyone?) with equal ease. They’ve Yaccarino, Little Golden Books, Margaret Wise Brown, all sorts of folks. Some characters were clearly chosen because the company just wanted to have that kind of animal on hand (Claire and the Unicorn Happy Ever After by B.G. Hennesey is a good example of this). Basically, if you have a library system hoping to decorate the shelves with characters, this is the place to look. Glad I found out about it.
Not that my kid doesn’t also get books . . .
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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