There's something especially appropriate about a toy like the Totoro's Forest Wooden Animal Blocks. Totoro, the titular character of the 1988 anime My Neighbor Totoro that established Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli as creators of masterpieces, is a forest spirit, so a puzzle toy (or even a set of toys) made of different types of Japanese wood is, well, a natural choice. The five different types of wood that make up the set's 15 pieces (birch, magnolia, oak, chestnut. and of course cherry tree) could very well have come from the real Totoro's forest. Oh, and did we mention that the set is produced by the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo?
The "natural" part is literal, by the way: all the pieces in the Totoro's Forest Wooden Animal Blocks are unvarnished, so even if your children bring them in contact with their mouth, they won't harm them. The different shades, smells, and textures of the different kinds of wood and the varying shapes of the animals give your kids a wonderful introduction to Mother Nature's diversity. And trying to put together the puzzle and fit everything back in the box helps sharpen their minds. In other words, a perfect companion for children – like Totoro himself!
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