Buying children’s toys must be a chore for die-hard modernists, who must sacrifice aesthetics for playthings that kids actually like—that is, ugly plastic junk engineered to break after a few moments out of the box. For them (and those who just appreciate good design), there’s now some solace: Patrick Rylands’s classic Bird and Fish bath toys are being re-issued, and they’re every bit as delightful as they were when they first appeared more than 40 years ago.
With a background in ceramics from the Royal College of Art, Rylands combined a penchant for sculptural forms with an interest in new material (plastic) to create rounded toys that were easy for young children to hold onto. His charming Bird and Fish won the Duke of Edinburgh’s Design Award in 1970 and are being produced today in injection-molded A.B.S., with internal ballast weights to keep them balanced while in the water. And there’s no shame in adults without kids putting these design gems on bathroom display.