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Travels with Teddy: Zylie is one smart fashionable bear who is also a “living doll”! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Stephanie Finnegan   
Monday, 19 November 2012 09:45
“Zylie the bear” is a fascinating blend of style and curiosity. A cuddly plush pal, she’s also a fashion doll . . . of sorts!
As she travels around the world, Zylie has an outfit that helps her on her learning excursions.
In addition to her life as a bear/doll, Zylie is also an illustration in a children’s book series. She’s a Manhattan miss who loves discovering different countries and cultures.
Zylie and baby brother Theo share some lighthearted moments in China. As they discover a country that is different from their New York City lifestyle, so do the young readers.
Acting as a Ken to Zylie’s Barbie, Shen shows a can-do attitude. He wants to be a world-famous drummer who tours the globe.
Biographies of the characters—the toy versions and the illustrations—are provided on the website.
On the website, there are fun activities and extras to print out and share, such as paper dolls and coloring sheets.
After navigating their way through China, the next stop is . . . Australia!
“Zylie the bear” is a fascinating blend of style and curiosity. A cuddly plush pal, she’s also a fashion doll . . . of sorts!
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If you’re like me, when Thanksgiving rolls around, you get sort of sentimental and weepy. Hallmark Card messages take on extra weight and significance, and a simple “thank you” can render a lump in one’s throat. It happens every year, when I consider how fortunate I’ve been in my life, but this year is extra special. Where I live, we were hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy, and this followed on the heels of last year’s devastating Hurricane Irene. So, after two years of being walloped by weather, I am so thankful that my house is still standing, and that my family is all together. Our spirits and our days might have been dampened and drenched, but we are vowing to rebuild and regroup. I’m happy that we will be together on Thanksgiving and we’ll be able to talk about the big 2012 storm as a past memory. And, more important, discuss future plans and exciting events-to-be.

One of the things that I’m perennially thankful for is that I get to work in the field of bears and dolls. Both teddy bears and their figural counterparts have played huge roles in my life, and I am grateful that I get to earn a living by indulging my inner kid. That’s why I was so delighted to discover the world of “Zylie the Bear” and her pal “Shen the Panda.” Not just a teddy bear—and not quite a doll—Zylie is a hybrid of both: she’s got the looks and attitude of an ursine sweetie, but she’s shaped and able to be dressed easily and fashionably like a Bratz or a Monster High heroine.

Described as adventurous and curious, Zylie is traveling the world, and her experiences are being chronicled by her outfit choices, companion books, and a very impressive website ( In her stories, Zylie is joined by her younger brother, Theo—clumsy and troublesome, a tad clunky and awkward. Despite his unkempt appearance—shoelaces are always untied, just waiting to be tripped over—he loves his big sister to pieces, and the feelings are mutual on Zylie’s end too. They also have a mentoring, caring aunt named Willa, who is an award-winning reporter. The journalist, who has made journeying a natural part of life, inspires and teaches her young charges to respect the world around them. That’s an essential lesson that should be embraced by us humans as well.

During one of their jaunts, Zylie and Theo meet up with Shen, a rock-and-roll panda. Despite his father’s more traditional Chinese bent, Shen is a panda with a mind of his own. He befriends Zylie and her little sibling as they explore central China and his panda preserve, where he lives.

Aunt Willa and Theo aren’t bear/dolls yet, but “Shen” is able to be purchased and dressed in a bunch of spot-on boy designs. It’s great that there is a Ken surrogate to Zylie’s Barbie role. They can go trekking and learning together, and it’s heartwarming to see how Zylie is gathering information firsthand about how the world extends beyond her Manhattan lifestyle.

Looking to get the word out about this traveling teddy girl, Zylie’s creators have taken their mission to Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Amazon. It’s a modern-day way to send postcards from all the edges of the world that she and Theo might visit and discover.
My daughter, who is 8, and my son, who is 10, are the ideal targets for this new merging of fashion doll and bear bliss. They are both comfortable with sitting down together to play with their assorted bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, and other sundry critters. (Yep, Tommy is a patient big brother to Jane, and happily indulges her with these plush play moments.) However, when they go to play dolls together, Tommy’s double-digit age is getting the best of him. He can somehow justify dressing and undressing the cuddly creatures, but doing the same with a doll is just . . . well, it’s just too much to ask of him!

Zylie and Shen allow kids who enjoy vesting their stuffed animals with personalities and pedigrees the chance to dress them up with sleek wardrobes and well-made accessories. Talk about an imaginative investment!

I’m thankful I discovered the world of these two globe-trotting characters, and I’m even more thankful that I can share the good news with you!