Lions, Tigers, & Build-A-Bear, Oh My — 'The Wizard Of Oz' Collection Is *So* Magical

"Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!" For 80 years, people have been chanting that line and enjoying the lively music and Technicolor wonder that is The Wizard of Oz. Given its popularity, and the long celebrated characters, the Wizard of Oz Build-A-Bear series is a natural fit for the brand, and perfect for celebrating the anniversary of such an iconic film. Available for a limited time only, this series is sure to delight fans of the film and lovers of the stuffed plush bears.

The limited edition Wizard of Oz bear retails for $28, and features super plush tan fur, emerald green feet and ears emblazoned with the image of Oz, and a Wizard of Oz patch directly over the heart. The line of accessories has everything from Dorothy's ruby slippers ($7.50) to an adorable Cowardly Lion costume ($18) for your favorite plush bears and other animals. A personal favorite of mine is the Scarecrow costume ($18), which is just so cute given the fact that it is a stuffed bear wearing the costume, and the Scarecrow's stuffing was forever falling out. It should be noted that this collaboration is an online-only exclusive, which is great for families who don't live near one of the Build-A-Bear workshops, or who simply don't want to fend off the crowds at the store.

I am a forever Build-A-Bear stan. Having attended countless class trips, parties, and visits to their stores with my children, I can honestly say that the experience of shopping there is something my kids and I cherish dearly. Over the years, we have acquired New York Jets bears, Christmas bears, and Marvel superhero bears, all of whom live on the beds of my kids. When I learned about the Wizard of Oz Build-A-Bear, I knew that soon, another friend would be joining our family.

My love for Build-A-Bear goes well beyond their collaborations with companies like Marvel or with films like The Wizard of Oz. I just genuinely like the company as a whole. Every year, they partner with charities across the country, giving thousands of bears (and dollars) away to children in need. Charities like the Toys for Tots Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, The American Red Cross, and pediatric hospitals all over the United States have been gifted stuffed bears at a time when they need a friend the most.

Not only that, but for families like mine with an autistic child or child with sensory sensitivities, Build-A-Bear's "Sensory-Friendly Sundays" can make the shopping experience so much more enjoyable for everyone. They dim the lights, quiet the room, and provide a safer shopping environment for those special kids and their families.

Scanning through the offerings of Wizard-themed bears and accessories makes me long for the days when my children would gather up all of their stuffed animals hanging out around the house and pile them on the sofa to "watch" television with them. I can picture how my daughter would do that with her Scarecrow bear, singing of how life would be a "ding a derry" (whatever that is) if he "only had a brain."

The Wizard of Oz Build-A-Bear series might only come once every 80 years, so it would serve us all to go out and get it while we can. The film has aged beautifully, spawning popular spin-offs like Wicked, and Oz, The Great and Powerful. Every generation falls in love with the Emerald City in their own way, and this collaboration with Build-A-Bear might be the means by which our children begin their fascination with the film. Bonus: right now there is free shipping on orders over $45, so there's no reason to wait.