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20 Apr 2020
Book and Bear

The other day I received the most wonderful package in the mail from Book and Bear.  Book and Bear is an online subscription and gifting service that mixes two of my favorite things - Books and Crafting.  Now before I go any further, full disclosure, Book and Bear sent me this box free of charge in exchange for my unbiased opinion.  Rest assured, I take my "influencer" position very seriously. 


Here's my experience from beginning to end.



The Box arrived shrink-wrapped in a purple plastic coating which was very easy to open.  If I were a child I would be thrilled with the box.  It has little tabs in the front that slip into the sides, which makes opening and revealing not only easy, but a treat.  This isn't an amazon box where you have to cut open tape and wade through a bunch of bubble plastic. It's an  entire experience, from the opening itself to the great reveal of what's inside. This product is well thought out.  


But now onto the important stuff - what's inside?  



When I opened the box I found a brightly colored tissue wrapped bundle and lots of crinkle paper.  I personally like crinkle paper because it's great for crafting. Parents be warned however,  if you are letting your little ones open the box on their own, you may end up with a paper storm.  Buried in the crinkle paper is a high-quality plastic dinosaur, a vacuum-packed bag of stuffing with instructions printed on the bag, adoption papers, a stuffing tool (which looks very much like a wooden honey server), a puffy heart, and another flat wrapped package.  I like the fact that there are lots of surprise elements here.  The wrapped bundle, the treasure hunt through the crinkle paper, the final flat wrapped parcel...it all adds to building excitement.



The opening of the first tissue wrapped bundle revealed a high-quality animal skin (in my case a triceratops).  The animal skin itself comes with a stuffed head and tail so all your child really has to do is fill the arms, legs and body cavity.  Opening the stuffing is as much fun as everything else.  Stuffing has a life of its own, so as soon as I cut the top of the bag, it puffed up and pushed its way out the top.  I can only imagine how that would tickle a child's fancy.  The stuffing is some of the silkiest I've ever felt...and I've handled everything from stuffing machine fluff to polyfill and styrofoam beads; this is quality material. 



Stuffing the critter is pretty straight forward.  There are instructions on the back of the bag, but basically you open the back flap, pull out the inner sleeve, stuff, add the heart (and a kiss), pull the zip-tie attached to the sleeve, trim the extra zip-tie, and then close the back by removing the thin piece of fabric from the velcro strip and then sticking the velcro together.  I personally would have liked a little bit more fluff - I felt like my body was a little floppy once I was done, but then that could be because I packed my arms and legs pretty tightly. 



The final package is a book.  I can not judge other box offerings, but I found this book, "If I had a Triceratops" by George O'Connor, incredibly charming.  The story is sweet, about a little boy who imagines what it would be like to have a triceratops for a pet. It's not a groundbreaking book by any means, but the illustrations are adorable, and the way the author makes the triceratops behave in a doglike manner makes the book extremely accessible for young readers.


A few things I learned upon checking out their website; Animals are not recommended for children under 3. There is an online parent's community through Facebook, and many options for buying the packages.  My initial intel informed me that Book and Bear was a monthly subscription service, however, upon examining their site I found that you can order single boxes, birthday boxes, boxes for more than one child in a household, quarterly subscriptions and mini animal subscriptions.  There are many options to choose from.


Now, pricing.  For what you get and for how well thought out all of this is, I don't find the price all that steep, especially when I know how expensive it is to put all this together.  If you have ever been to an actual Build-a-Bear workshop you know how expensive those animal stuffing adventures can be.  As of the writing of this blog, subscription plans start at $39.99 for the mini-box and go up to $54.99 for the quarterly boxes.  However, you really should check out the site, because there are numerous great options along with discounts and incentives to join.


All in all, I have to say I was very impressed by the product.  I could see this being a great gift from a grandparent or auntie or friend.  It's definitely "stuffed" with goodies and delights!