I was an enormous stuffed animal fan when I was young, I gave them out generously as gifts (with matching board books!--how clever!) at baby showers, and grew up to become the 'stuffed animal specialist' at FAO Schwarz in my early twenties. Now that I'm a mom, I can't stand them. Whereas my sister and I would throw birthday parties for our favorites, which would require making 300 paper hats for all the others, and we'd just weep Corduroy-style at the thought of a less-than-perfect creature being left to collect dust on a store shelf (hence the enormous collection at home), my own children haven't gravitated towards them. They have some cute ones, but mostly, they're decorative. They look nice sitting on a shelf, in a fantasy child's bedroom kind of way, but really they just collect a lot of dust and take up valuable square footage. The mere fact that no consignment shop will accept stuffed animals kinda makes me appreciate the cringe-factor of all that old fur. Which brings me to the Schleich creatures. Fantastically detailed, little hard rubber creatures--both real, and imaginary. There's something for everyone. Unicorns, woolly mammoths, lion cubs (for the newly Lion King obsessed), hyenas, fairies, farm animals, jungle animals, marine life. I've enjoyed weeding out all of our old yucky bath toys and have found these Schleich creatures popping up in the shower. This morning an old bear greeted me enthusiastically from the soap dish. They're durable and satisfying, play well with action figures, and fit well in block and lego building. I suspect my children will grow out of them at some point, but am in no hurry for that day to come.