Indigo partners with Gary Taxali for toy line

July 26, 2010

Children’s author and illustrator Gary Taxali has struck a deal to design a line of retro wooden toys for Indigo Books & Music. The toys, set to appear this fall, will be sold individually and alongside Taxali’s forthcoming picture book, This Is Silly! (Scholastic Canada).

Indigo Kids vice-president Trevor Dayton got the idea to do a retro toy line after seeing “some classic old-fashioned toys” on a buying trip to Hong Kong. Upon his return, he began looking for someone to produce a proprietary collection, and he says that when he came across Taxali’s book the aesthetic seemed ideal. By a happy coincidence, Taxali had been designing and selling vinyl toys via his company Chump Toys since 2005.

While Taxali’s toy line will launch in November, just a few months after Scholastic releases his book, the toys aren’t a direct tie-in. The line includes eight different press-up toys (the kind, Taxali explains, where you press the bottom to make the animal’s legs go “spindly”), a woodpecker that slides up and down a metal pole, and a little wooden man who somersaults down wooden bars. Some of the toys are inspired by the book, but others have been derived from older paintings by Taxali. “They’re takes on classic toys that have been around for centuries and that exist in various cultures throughout the world,” Taxali says.

Indigo hasn’t decided where Taxali’s old-timey creations will be displayed in stores, but they will be branded so that buyers know they’re Taxali-made products. Each package will feature a bio of the artist that references his books.

This is the first time the company has partnered with an artist to create Indigo-exclusive toys, but Dayton says they would “do it again if the circumstances and the partnership were right.”

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