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Scary Godmother
by yo go re

If you thought it was weird when we reviewed a doll, just wait'll you see what we have today!

It's Bug-A-Boo! Scary Godmother's favorite monster! He's a plush backpack with a zipper mouth that opens, so you can hide all your favorite things in his belly! Like Halloween candy or that pebble from the summer trip to the beach or a love note or your phone! The backpack straps are removable so he can simply be your favorite monster pal! Cuddle with him on long trips or when you are snoozin' at night! He is a good listener and loves all your worst puns!

You read that right: we're reviewing a backpack. After the Scary Godmother Kickstarter was so successful, artist Jill Thompson began work on bringing another of her characters to 3D life. Bug-A-Boo is one of Scary Godmother's broommates, living in the basement of their shared house. His job is being the monster under the bed, scaring children. (If that sounds similar to Sully from Monsters, Inc., don't worry: the comics and the movie were in development at the same time, so neither copied the other.)

Bug-A-Boo began life as a clay sculpt. If you were to ask us how plushes were designed, we'd never have guessed that! He has a big round body with two arms, two legs, two horns, one mose, and five irregular eyes - they're neither the same size as one another, nor are they placed symmetrically on his face. They're all yellow with red irises and black pupils, so they do at least look alike in that regard. Judging by the behind-the-scenes photos, getting them made correctly was a real challenge: the factory kept making the irises stand up above the surface of the eye, rather than being flat, so it took a couple rounds of approvals to get them accurate.

Since Bug-A-Boo is a backpack rather than a normal plush, he needs to be able to open - otherwise he wouldn't be much use, now would he? This is where things get truly clever. The opening is his mouth, and it zippers shut just like any other backpack. He's got thick red lips that curl all the way up at the ends, and 12 white fangs that poke out. Those are made of thick felt, so they keep their shape but don't actually hurt when you touch them. The brilliant part, however, is the zipper pull: rather than just being a little metal or plastic tab, it's his tongue! When his tongue is sticking out the right side of his mouth, the backpack is closed; when it's on his left, it's open. That's so neat! The zipper itself is red, so it blends in, and the lining of the backpack is red, so it looks like the inside of his mouth when you peek in there.

Buggy's limbs are short and fat, and done in a very short-napped material. He has five claws on each foot and each hand, done the same way as the teeth. The arms and legs have horizontal stripes of blue and indigo, and get plush stuffing so they retain their shape. The curved white horns on top of his head get the same treatment, as does the red devil's tail on his backside.

The body has some stuffing too, though clearly not all the way through, or there'd be no room for storage. The nap on his head is longer than on the limbs, but shorter than on the body. The body is totally fuzzy! The face is a nice solid blue, while the body is a variegated gray. His nose is another stuffed piece, though the curling nostrils are just dyed onto the face, not part of the nose. Overall, his spherical body is a little smaller than a basketball, with all the additional bodyparts adding a little more size. Still, he's totally soft and good for smishing. Give him a big hug as hard as you can!

Bug-A-Boo is, as we said, a backpack. Which means he has to have some straps to go around your shoulders. They're padded on top and have adjustable woven nylon at the bottoms - those areas are grey and blue, respectively, so they'll blend in with the toy's body. The straps are long enough to fit over an adult's shoulders with no problem. They connect to the backpack via lobster claw clasps: there's one ring at the top of his head, and one behind each leg. You know what that means? They're totally removable, so you can turn this backpack into just a friend!

The Bug-A-Boo Plush backpack with removable straps is only available via the Scary Godmother website, which makes sure to inform us that he's not machine washable (just spot-washable) and that you should keep him away from open flames. Like all your most beloved things.

We're not really sure why Bug-A-Boo was done as a backpack and not just a plush toy, but maybe it was just the appeal of having more utility... or maybe there are different safety standards between the two? Less stringent here? Whatever the case, getting a friend for Scary Godmother is neat, and he's got quality construction.

-- 10/28/20

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