By Tami Murphy
Afraid of the dark? Worried about tomorrow's dental checkup? Feed it to your Worry Eater. The little softie with big eyes and a striped body comes in eight different personalities with names like Polli, Flamm and twins Bill and Betti. Each character has a hang tag that explains to tots as young as 3 years old that if they write their concern on paper -- or draw it if too young to write -- and toss it into the plush’s zippered mouth, their Worry Eater will hold on to that fear for them, so they can get a good night’s sleep. In the morning, their fears usually don’t look so large after all.
In Germany they are known as Sorgenfressers and last year over a million and a half of these lovable characters found homes and helped eat worries in Germany, the rest of Europe and the U.K. And it's not just kids but grownups who are overwhelmed with worries and appreciate the concept behind the plush series.
"I bought Schnulli ... for my husband," wrote one American fan. "I had returned from a visit to Italy with three (of the plush pals) for my grandchildren. My husband, who is a worrier, wanted one to put his worries in. We love our Schnulli. It took a while for him to arrive, as he had to come from the UK."
The Haywire Group is the North American distributor for these adorable characters. The line of Worry Eaters were officially launched to retail buyers in February at Toy Fair 2015 in New York City. They are available for sale in retail locations and online in the United States and Canada.