The physical component of this piece is a thin, catalog-like booklet. The audio can be found by calling the number (928) 563-6257.
KidzWorks! 2021 Catalog
A set of objects are arranged against an aqua background. Below them, the apparent name of the company—KidzWorks!—enjoins us to approach the objects with wonder and with joy. And yet—the objects are eerie as fuck.
Here we are again: the objects are piled one on top of the other as if trying to climb over a transom or fit into a trench coat. I don’t feel much better about things. Even if the background is pink.
Our Story: A View from “the Corners Office”
If you want to get to know KidzWorks! Toys, start by meeting our founder, Greg. That’s right: we just call him Greg, because we’re more like a family than a company and because no one knows his last name. Not even him.
Greg started KidzWorks! Toys (formerly Hamburg Container Group, Ltd.) because, simply, toys are in his blood. And blood is in our toys, too—just ask Scrumples, the Wounded Teddy Bear! Greg started making toys when he was just a kid himself. His first creation was called Mommy 2, and while she was too sharp to be a KidzWorks! toy, we like to think she’d feel right at home here. Greg insists she would.
The door is always open to the corner office—or, as Greg calls it, “the Corners Office.” That’s in honor of our best-selling toy, Corners (and because of an architectural misunderstanding that left his office with eighteen corners rather than the traditional four). As long as there are kids, there will be KidzWorks! Like Greg always says, “Nothing bad can happen to us as long as we just keep making toys.”
Ready, Set, Play!
Oh, dear Jesus, they’ve rearranged themselves against bright yellow! And now they’re staring at you. I think they’ve gotten closer. I think when you blink, they get closer.
For recall information, please call:
Squip, the Doll Who’s Always Damp
Who wants a moist boy? Do you want a moist boy? Squip can be your moist boy.
Mailing weight 1 lb.
A seated humanoid with red stopper nose stares at you with button eyes. There is no mouth. Let me repeat: there is no mouth. Most importantly: the doll is covered in the heathered stretch jersey of cheap underwear, and it is wet. Something has oozed from its neck. Perhaps it keeps oozing. Perhaps you fill it with liquids to keep it oozing forever.
Corners, the Talking Square
We literally do not know where this toy came from. One day they just started showing up in the factory. More appear each day. One watches over me as I write this.
Mailing weight 1.6 lb.
Well, what do we have here? A creature of ruthless Muppetoid geometry! That is: a square covered in short blue fur, with two eyes set in the uppermost corners, no nose no nose no nose, and a mouth at the extreme bottom of its… face? Body? Manifestation in our limited dimension? Somebody mentioned it can talk, which I do not like.
The Let’s Shave Family of Toys
All three sizes for $23
Mommy, Daddy, and Baby sure are looking scruffy! Let’s shave them! Right now.
Mailing weight 9 oz.
Three unscrewable cylinders, all in a row: blue, yellow, purple. A sticker on them says there’s liquid inside. What liquid? Let us never know. And everybody gets their own razor? And it says they are “sharp”? Shave the family, grease them up, slip through cracks like an octopus!
What Happened to Beth?
Does anyone know what happened to Beth? Wasn’t there something about bees? Maybe her cousin would know. Does anybody know how to get in touch with her cousin?
Mailing weight 2 lb.
Oooo, a yellow cardboard box decorated with an image of a human ear! Also an image of dice and the title written in haunted-house lettering. Does the box contain a human ear? Are the dice coming out of the ear? These mysteries and more probably not revealed inside! Oh: five players. Probably one more than you have.
What can you make with just two blocks? A castle? A fire truck? Unlikely, but why not try!
Mailing weight 7 oz.
It’s just two plastic blocks: a green one numbered 1, a purple numbered 2. In some two-dimensional universe these might be fun, and who are we to say the dimensions you might travel to?
Having issues with your toy? Please call (928) 563–6257. Customer support is standing by.
Gulp, the Toy You Can Swallow
Gulp goes where no toy has gone before—right down your gullet!
Mailing weight 1 oz.
I once had a friend whose toy design was named “the Second Most Dangerous Toy in America” by some parents’ group and he was very disappointed not to have won. This toy might: a yellow plastic human silhouette with outstretched arms. A string is attached at the skull, and at the end of the string is a ring. My mom used to have something like this for tea but it broke.
Collect them one! There’s just one.
Mailing weight 1.5 oz.
It just looks like a fuschia blob. I don’t see why it would ’splode. But I guess it does?
Ever wonder what it’s like to visit a desert island? It’s not all coconuts and bonfires, we’ll tell you that much. Things turn ugly pretty quick. Based on a real weekend.
Mailing weight 1.7 lb.
Oooo, another cardboard box game! This one’s black, with a sketchy desert island with palm tree, and there’s a guy in a business suit drowning. Poor guy: a blue life preserver floats above him. Being thrown to him? Levitating just out of reach to drive him mad? Two more life preservers are depicted on the side of the box. It says three players, so maybe these are playing pieces. Life is inexplicable.
Jessica, the Second Prettiest Girl in the World
Meet your new friend Jessica! She’s not like Samantha. And that’s fine. She wouldn’t want to be. It’s actually freeing being second. It is!
Mailing weight 1.5 lb.
What are the standards of “pretty” if everyone’s a blob? Blob of orange hair, blob of green body, blob of purple shoes. Blobby lilac face with I guess green eyes, a tiny nose, and a mouth frozen in the instant of speech. She looks like she’s under a hex.
More toys from KidzWorks! Toys
Professor Horse, the Horse with a PhD
“Make It Clean!”
Bumpy, the Alligator Who Won’t Wake Up
Don’t Touch That!
Busy, the Dog Who Always Has a Meeting
The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Playset
To order, fill out the form below.
Concerns about the safety of your child? Call us right away. (928) 563–6257. Not toll free.
Ian Chillag is a writer and producer and the creator of the Radiotopia podcast Everything Is Alive, on which he interviews inanimate objects about their lives. His work has appeared on NPR, and in the New York Times and A Public Space.
Andrew Sean Greer is the bestselling author of six works of fiction, including the novels The Confessions of Max Tivoli and Less, which won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. He once worked as copywriter and namer for a toy company. His proudest name: the Song Turtle (pool radio).