Kids Preferred, Inc. is known for bringing products to the marketplace under its own brand and through private label programs such as “Animal Alley” for Toys “R” Us!
A short tale for parents looking for that special Animal Alley plush toy from Toys “R” Us! I hope it helps you find your child’s most favorite friend.
In March 2004, Evil and I took our son for his first childhood shots. An unhappy experience for everyone concerned. Of course the little Prince doesn’t remember anything about it, thankfully. But Mom and Dad sure do! So when your parents tell you “It hurt me more than you”, what they mean is, your folks keep that memory of fear and tears with them for the rest of their lives.
To celebrate his being a “big boy”, we took the little prince to our local Toys “R” Us®. We put him in the cart and started through the aisles. At some point we made our way down the stuffed animal aisle.
We past several animals of varying sizes, colors, shapes and species. Halfway down the aisle, the Prince reached out and grabbed a 32″ stuffed dog and pulled it into the cart with him. There was no question after that. The big dog wasn’t going back on the shelf. And yes, we tried to put the big guy back and get a smaller version, but the Prince wasn’t having it!
Didn’t take him long to get a name either, “Big Doggie”. The Prince was an early talker and if you listened carefully, you could make out what he was trying to say. So Big Doggie became his best friend.
They took naps together, they wrestled in the floor, they even had some pretty good heart to heart talks together. And as the Prince got older, Big Doggie became more and more important to him. So 3 years later when it was time to return to the doctors for another round of childhood shots, Big Doggie came along. And as usual we promised a trip to the giant Toys “R” Us nearby for being a good big boy.
Once again we found ourselves in Animal Alley. This time the Prince decided Big Doggie needed to be a daddy. Ok, whatever makes the child feel better. As we walked through the aisle, we saw varying sizes of the same Big Doggie and the Prince settled on the 12″ version. What are we going to name this one? “Penny” he says, “because she’s the color of a penny”.
Penny has probably become the most important animal he has. Even surpassing Big Doggie to some degree. 5 years later, he still relies on his small family of stuffed animals to talk to and help him feel better about things. He’s an only child who lives in the country where he’s surrounded by adults and few kids. I figure someday he’ll become embarrassed about carrying his 3 favorites around with him. But until then, they are a source of comfort and security.
As Mom, I’m constantly trying to keep up with his animals when we go places. I’ve often worried what would we do if he lost Penny or something happened to her and we couldn’t replace her? Because he was so young when we bought Big Doggie and Penny, it was recommended to us to remove the product tags as they could become a choking hazard. Well of course we removed them, not thinking we might want to know where they came from one day!
I’ve searched for them online several times through the years to no avail. It’s hard to search for brown and tan stuffed dog and not find nearly everything on the internet! Until this year. I guess it’s been long enough since this particular product was on the shelf, that they’ve become unique and desired and have finally shown up on eBay! Yes! Thank you Animal Alley Plush Brown Dog collectors!! Now not only do I know the brand “Animal Alley” and the product “Plush Darby”, shh, we have a new Penny on her way here to her new home!
This discovery is what inspired this post, because in my search I’ve noticed that a lot of people want to know where the Toys “R” Us animals come from?! Well here you go Mom’s, Dad’s and Grand Parents. Thanks to toy collectors I found out!
Animal Alley is a store brand specific to Toys “R” Us and made by Kids Preferred Inc.. Sadly I don’t think the two companies are still doing business. A search at Kids Preferred for Toys “R” Us products received no results. A search at Toys “R” Us for “Animal Alley” also received no results, but you do get a list of new plush toy collections.
Kids Preferred also makes products for Scholastic Education, Build-A-Bear Workshop™, Starbucks® and more. The Company’s distinctive soft and plush toys and gifts are marketed under the Company’s own Kids Preferred™ brand and through licensed brands including amazing baby™, asthma & allergy friendly™ – Healthy Baby™, The World of Beatrix Potter™, Between the Lions™, Biscuit™, Charlie and Lola™, Classic Pooh®, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh®, Elmer, Goodnight Moon, Greenzys™, Guess How Much I Love You™, Harley-Davidson®, Label Loveys™, Madeline™, Martha Speaks™, pat the bunny®, Smarty Kids™, The Snowman™, Spot™ and The World of Eric Carle™.
Kids Preferred is headquartered in East Windsor, NJ and has offices in New York City, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The Company distributes its top quality products throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
If you purchased a plush toy from Toys “R” Us and you’re looking for a replacement, try searching for Animal Alley with a description of the animal on your favorite search engine. Or on eBay. If it exists, you’ll eventually find a collector that is offering your favorite toy in an auction! I’m so excited we found our little Darby friends. Thankfully if something happens, the loss won’t feel so dramatic, because we’ll have a special friend waiting in the wings!
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