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The Secret Life of Plastic Toy Animals


Just what do our kids' plastic toy animals do when we're not looking? Photographer Jeff Friesen has the answer. His adorable series takes a look at their secret life inside our homes! Like many projects, this one started out as a personal project, one dedicated to the photographer's daughter. Looking to decorate his daughter's room with some fun animal prints, Friesen decided to create these. His friends and family loved them so much that they urged him to start selling them online.

He explains in more detail, "The series began when I was playing with my daughter and noticed how she easily mixes toys of different genres, such as Lego with Playmobil, or dollhouse furniture with plastic animals. One day, she was playing with a plastic dairy cow that looked particularly at home in a domestic dollhouse setting. I'm a big fan of Paolo Ventura's diorama photography so this seemed like a good time to try my own at diorama construction while, at the same time, spending quality time with my daughter."

As a nice accompaniment, the photographer includes a short story with each one. As he says, "Because kids like stories so much we made up little narratives that evolved into the image captions." For instance, for the birthday cake-loving hippo, he states, "Hugo was a model of self-restraint in many aspects of life. In fact, he restrained himself from piano practice every day. Surely no one would notice if he took one small bite of his sister's birthday cake. Just one tiny bite!"

See more of our favorites, below. (Got to love his bright wallpaper backgrounds.)


He's not so fowl. Sure, you shouldn't wear white feathers after Labor Day, but this dirty duck is scrubbing up his down!


His family used to follow polar bears in hopes of finding scraps to eat, now they're searching the internet for a deal on mid-century furnishings. Money has been tight since their savings, invested in Lemmings Brothers, disappeared when the lemmings ran off a cliff. Invest wisely in quirky fox-based art and your children will thank you.


Oreo's parents own an Aarnio Eero Ball Chair as an architectural piece, but he prefers it as a refuge from the constant attention a young panda attracts. You'd think the neighborhood was a zoo or something.


Chi Chi is happy to have his own apartment, but he does miss his friends back in the bamboo forest. It's hard to keep in touch with the old gang by e-mail since the internet company refuses to hook them up. Oh well, at least he can stay up-to-date on panda gossip by watching documentaries on Animal Planet.


You could say that Norbert had a green thumb, but the truth is he doesn't have a thumb of any color. That's more of a primate thing, but in terms of keeping house dinosaurs still rule the Earth.


You've likely noticed that rubber duckies and dolphins make similar vocalizations. It's not a coincidence. The rubber ducky's squeak translated into dolphin means "remember to wash behind your ears." An important message, since many young dolphins have trouble locating their ears.


It's not that Leon minded hearing his dad reminisce about his days as a circus star...he just didn't need to hear about it several times a day. Maintaining a politely interested face is hard for bored lion cubs


You wouldn't want to be a fly on the wall in this place. Blinker traded in his lily pad for a bachelor pad downtown. He feels made for his new job as the bouncer at a hopping nightclub. Tonight he has a big date with a tadpole dancer.


While his famous cousin delivers mail to a certain bespectacled boy wizard, Frederick has decided to take up the magical arts for himself. Of course, being self taught means learning the hard way, and Frederick wishes to apologize for the total disappearance of Saskatoon.


You see more young cattle using skateboards as both transportation and in performance art. Spots is not allowed to skate indoors, but with his parents distracted by the 4H cable channel he’s “gleaming the cube” (whatever that means). Say what you will about kids today, the calfs are all right.


When Sugartooth's not shredding dirt at the track he is commonly found shredding just about anything. Sure, he's a tough guy—until you challenge him to an arm-wrestle that is! Ha!


It's in a white lion's nature to admire themselves in the mirror once in a while, say every ten minutes or so. They're a prideful lot, and who can blame them. It is possible, however, to take self-admiration too far. Griffin was gazing at himself so intently he fell through the mirror. Who knows where this tale goes next?

You can buy these prints for $20 over on Etsy.

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