Oomfies (starting at $20, Amazon) are ultra-soft stuffed wild animals with stories designed to melt your heart. Each Oomfy represents a real, orphaned animal that has been rescued and rehabilitated and comes with a book recounting the animal's tale. Oomfy Corp. uses at least 10 percent of its profits to fund animal rehabilitation and eventual release and donates 10 percent of its products to children in need, according to its website. The plush toys are made from machine-washable 100% organic cotton and non-toxic, Azo-free polyester. They are also free of button eyes or plastic pellets that could find their way into little mouths.
By now you're probably either thinking, "You had me at orphan," or glancing at the menagerie of fuzzy friends on the family room floor, skeptical about another addition. Adopting a pet -- real or not -- is a big decision, so we gave an Oomfy to our 8-year-old toy reviewer to test its appeal.
Our Oomfy of choice was Thandi the Monkey, a 20-inch, plush, green simian whose real-world counterpart was hit by a car as a baby. Our child tester immediately cooed over how soft Thandi was and cuddled the stuffed monkey close. She was particularly enamored of its rainbow tail. Then she read the story. Who wouldn't be moved by the picture of an infant Thandi with her arm in a cast? Or relieved at the happy ending, when Thandi grew to become a mother herself? Our tester was captivated.
Oomfy reviews are limited, but a parent who posted on Amazon reports that a stuffed hedgehog has become one of the family. Another was surprised at the interest her young children took in their Oomfies, and in animal rescue as a result.
Our assessment: Yes, Oomfies are simply eco-friendly stuffed animals with endearing back stories. Yes, they may clutter up your house or end their days lounging on a high shelf. On the other hand, they just may become your child's best friend. We recommend these adorable do-gooder gifts for young wannabe veterinarians and animal lovers of all ages.