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Book Smart: The Yottoy company celebrates reading, writing, and wrapping your arms around both! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 08 October 2012 09:56
Among the many classic children’s characters that are meticulously made by Yottoy are King Babar, Queen Celeste, and Madeline, the perpetual French schoolgirl.
The polite bear that made his way from Peru to London is depicted in this Yottoy interpretation of the beloved Michael Bond creation.
Paddington has been a perennial favorite since his literary debut in 1958. Here is a soft version that is ideal for young hands!
Lucy Cousins’s Maisy, which is a staple in nursery schools and kindergartens, comes to life via Yottoy. Here is one of their very thorough gift sets of toys and books!
The iconic Paul Frank “Julius the monkey” is made three-dimensional and real.
The Big World of H.A. Rey is spotlighted in this gift set that features four of his fun and sweet characters: Katy No-Pocket (a kangaroo), Spotty (a bunny), Cecily G. (a giraffe), and Pretzel (a dachshund).
The fast and foul-smelling Cheese Man can actually run! Pockets in the back of his legs allow your fingers to propel him all around town.
Who hasn’t been moved by the tale of the Velveteen Rabbit? The sentimental saga has been given the painstakingly accurate Yottoy treatment.
Among the many classic children’s characters that are meticulously made by Yottoy are King Babar, Queen Celeste, and Madeline, the perpetual French schoolgirl.
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I’ve been lucky in a lot of aspects. No, I’ve never won the lottery or a major sweepstakes (I got exhausted from clicking on all the Publishers Clearing House e-mailed ultimatums), but I am fortunate that I’ve gotten to pursue two passions in my life: literature and collectibles.


Throughout my career as a “cub reporter,” I’ve also actively worked in the publishing field: have done a lot of assignments as an editor for true crimes, techno-thrillers, sci-fi fantasy, and—my deepest love of all—children’s books.


Yes, I was an inveterate reader as a child, and I pored over pages of the illustrated classics. I remember feeling every anguished moment that Mary Lennox experienced in her new, cold home that bordered the Secret Garden, and I delighted when Jane Eyre seemed to have found love with the haunted Mister Rochester. I adored losing myself in a good read, and I relished the heroines that dominated the pages of the great, long-standing authors, as well as their more modern counterparts (Harriet the Spy, Cathy Leonard, The Moffats, The Saturdays).


When I had children, I delighted in the fact that I would be able to share my love of reading with them. I did indeed sit on the floor with them, alternating nights in each child’s room, and we’d read from crisp, clean hardcover books that soon became dog-eared and gritty from overhandling. Starting them off with stories that featured captivating artwork and bouncy plot lines, we’d read about the adventures of Madeline and her fellow Paris schoolmates, Pippi Longstocking and her companion chimp, the trials and tribulations of the little Knuffle Bunny that narrowly escapes being abandoned in a Laundromat and then switched in a classroom backpack mishap, as well as Curious George, the Pout-Pout Fish, and the woken-up heroine of “Waking Beauty”!


Yes, we’ve read together many nights; and as my kids learned to read, I became their willing audience, sitting down and hearing them phonetically pronounce words and then zip through them as their skills grew and grew! How rewarding.


Many of these characters that have mattered to me—four-legged friends and two-legged role models—are available as plush pals from a very reputable and reliable New York–based company, Yottoy (


The name is a tongue-twister and sounds like a step-cousin to a Yeti. But Yottoy is “toy” spelled backward, forward, and then combined!


Many of their products are for sale at museums, resort gift shops, “better” department stores and pharmacies, as well as galleries, specialty shops, and independent toy stores.


The Yottoy lineup is recognizable by its logo stamped on their toys’ bottoms: unlike Steiff with their legendary button in the ear, the Yottoy figures are sitting on their laurels!


Founded in 1995, the company is still in its teens, and they have a knack and a track record of scooping up some of the most beloved licenses and properties out there. Among their menagerie of characters are Knuffle Bunny (yep, my daughter’s favorite imaginary stuffed toy is now a real one), the other Mo Willems’s characters like the Pigeon, the Duckling, and Leonardo the Terrible Monster are all on hand. There are also salutes to creatures that have lined our bookshelves for generations. Babar and Celeste, the extraordinary elephants, have been lovingly transformed into huggable pachyderms. There are also renderings of Corduroy the Bear, Maisy the Mouse, the Velveteen Rabbit, Paddington Bear, and H.A. Rey’s comical kangaroo, bunny, giraffe, and dachshund.


In many instances, gift sets are available that pair the toy with their inspirational hardcover book. It’s a fantastic way for a young child to sit and cuddle the toy while reading or hearing the words spoken aloud.


It makes me happy to know that a company like Yottoy exists in this world. Amid all the clanging and beeping and shrieking of video games and children’s TV (I mean you, “Yo Gabba Gabba”), it’s calming to turn to a company that champions the printed word and the embraceable soft toy. Plus, how can you resist a company that equally adores the ever-precious and humorous Madeline as well as the self-defined Stinky Cheese Man? It’s marvelous to have a firm that dotes on the precocious as well as the odorous!