Sylvanian Families were first introduced in 1985 in Japan by Epoch. Tomy then introduced the figures into the USA and Canada soon after. It wasn't until 1987 that the Sylvanian Families were available in the UK and Ireland. By 1988 the Sylvanian Families cartoon was popular in both the UK and the USA. Sylvanian Families won 'The Toy of the Year' award, presented by the British Association of Toy Retailers (BATR), three years running (1987, 1988 and 1989).
However in 1990, Sylvanian Families were no longer available in the USA and Canada, though they were being sold in many other countries across the world. Sylvanian Families were then re-introduced to the USA and Canada by Tomy in 1993; they were launched under the new name of 'Calico Critters'. Distribution ceased again in the USA and Canada in 1996, and by 1998 Sylvanian Families also stopped being distributed in the UK and Ireland.
Fortunately, in 1999 Sylvanian Families were re-introduced into the UK and Ireland by Flair. At the same time, Calico Critters were also re-introduced in the USA and Canada by International Playthings. Popularity of the characters has remained high, especially with young girls in the UK. Currently there are about 700 unique Sylvanian figures, however there are an estimated 1,400 figures if all the variations are included. There is a huge range of furniture and accessories to fill the Sylvanian homes with, new Bathroom and Kitchen sets are available and new furniture for the Sylvanian babies is also available.
Sylvanian Families are a collectable range of small animals, beautifully designed with their own individual features, homes and accessories. Each figure belongs to a different family and they all live together in 'Sylvania'. Their homes are beautifully designed and each family has an endless choice of furniture and accessories to decorate it with. Sylvanian Families teach young children traditional family life and togetherness. Oakwood Manor, Willow Hall and Bramble Cottage are playhouses with such incredible detail - it's easy to get lost in the world of Sylvania! Sylvanian figures are fully poseable and all dressed in hand-made clothing and they can be collected as individuals or in family sets.
Different families all have their own individual characters. Grey Bear Family, for example, features Preston and Forrest (the herbal doctor of Sylvania), Honeysuckle and Ashley Evergreen. The Duck Family consists of Bill and Wanda Waddlington, who are Mayor and Mayoress of Sylvania. The Hound Dog Family features Hubert Alan, Hatty, Dennis and Esme Huckleberry. The Brown Rabbit Family is very musical and characters include Rusty and Herb, Ginger and Hollie Wildwood. There are many families living in Sylvania, and new ones continue to be introduced.