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Books and Toys

Play sets and plush toys and books! Oh, my! Did you know reading to a baby, even in the womb, is beneficial? Read about reading right here! And toys are terrific baby gifts, because babies need something to cuddle and keep them occupied between naps, baths and meals. Some plush toys, like Monsieur leSqueak, come with a baby blanket, and lovies--the new generation of best-friend blankies--give newborns a best friend with pizzazz and personality. Take a look at Ekko the Elephant, Jakka the Giraffe and the precious "Patches" Puppy Lovie, who arrives in a delightfully designed dog house. You'll discover that many of our toys become nursery decor, like our "Safari Ride" Elephant Rocker and still-popular rocking horses. Don't forget about personalized books, where bedtime stories are all about baby! Now, go have some fun browsing our books and toys!

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Corner Story: The Teddy Bear

The Teddy Bear has been a favorite baby gift for over a hundred years, though its exact origin remains something of a mystery. Most stories agree that the beloved gift dates to 1903, when a vacationing president chose to do the right thing and show mercy to a cornered animal.

Named for President Theodore Roosevelt, the most widely-held belief is that "Teddy," an avid outdoorsman, was hunting with friends in Mississippi when he was presented with a defenseless bear to shoot as a trophy. Roosevelt - already famous for his strong belief in fair play and sportsmanlike conduct - refused to shoot the defenseless animal. A Washington Post cartoonist drew a picture depicting the event, and two Brooklyn, New York toymakers unveiled the first stuffed bear animals later that week. Roosevelt gave permission for the toymakers to name the soft, fuzzy animal with shoe button eyes after him, and the "Teddy Bear" was born.

Today there are thousands of kinds of teddy bears available, and some rare and antique teddies can cost thousands of dollars. The history of the teddy remains popular, too. Museums featuring teddy bears the world over have opened in England and in Florida, and draw thousands of visitors each year!