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Virginia Postrel

How the Easter Bunny Got So Soft

In ways subtle and readily apparent, the quality of stuffed toys has improved over time.
A more cuddly Easter.

A more cuddly Easter.

Photographer: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Easter bunnies aren’t what they used to be.

The plush toys that line store shelves this time of year are cheaper, often safer, and much, much softer than in bygone days. They represent a small, squishy example of a pervasive phenomenon: goods whose quality has improved gradually but significantly over time, without corresponding price increases and with little recognition in the public imagination.