Many children’s books have been written, and children’s films filmed, about toys who come to life when we’re not looking. It’s obviously a deep-rooted need of ours. And, despite my appalling memory for anything that happened in my own childhood, I do recall that slight frustration with Teddy, who never showed any tendencies to turn real, however many books I read on the subject. Over the years I came to terms with the fact that I would do all the talking in our relationship, and, to be fair, it did provide me with a set of transferrable relationship skills which can come in handy these days.
It is hard to mention the subject of toys who become real, with thoughts of haberdashery still running through my head, without thinking of a certain cotton imitation-velvet rabbit, but I try not to let myself think about that book too often. Its story is more than any full-blooded grownup can bear. Look away now if you’re not feeling strong:I mean, just look at those tiny wee paws. That rabbit couldn’t even hold a knife and fork, let alone dig a tunnel! I’m not sure I’d even get beyond the front cover these days.
In an attempt to distract myself, I tried to think of other toys who come off better, but after remembering the harrowing tale of the Little Wooden Horse (Ursula Moray Williams – a wonderful, wonderful book, but caveat lector, it can be heart-wrenching); and toying with I Love you Blue Kangaroo (Emma Chichester Clark – stunningly beautiful, and certainly less harrowing, but that’s only because I have removed from my brain that sequence of pictures where Blue Kangaroo is slowly nudged out of favour and out of the bed, and finally gives up and leaves home); I have given up on the whole thing, and might never dare pick up a children’s book again.
On the whole, I wish children’s authors would stop tormenting children with these horrors, and do what any sane person would have done in the first place: go out and get themselves a pet. Because the truth is not that toys are secretly real, but that dogs are secretly toys.
Take another look at Megan.Look at those four fluffy paws planted firmly on the mat. If that is not the sweetest, cutest cuddly toy ever made, I don’t know what is. And the best thing about her is, she keeps on being alive and real, even when you look at her. Forget Teddy, get yourself a Megan. And from the slight upward tilt of the head as she looks lovingly at her owner, you know that tail will just go on wagging and wagging for ever…
Here she is, all done:
If you have a furry pet just waiting to be immortalised, do hop on over to the Commissions page.