How We Began For Grownups Parent Testimonials
The real-life story of How it All Began
Miranda Hentoff, the creator of Mandy's Menagerie, has been drawing these characters since she was old enough to hold a crayon. Her favorite childhood game was lining up her stuffed animals, engaging them in long conversations, and pretending she lived in Africa. Her absolute favorite toy was a huge love-worn lion, (almost life size to her) who Miranda was convinced was real. Every story she told was about talking to and living with animals.

By 15, Miranda was making hand drawn t-shirts that were sold at a hip children's store in Greenwich Village called "Gee, The Kids Need Clothes". She delivered 20 new shirts every Saturday, and on Sunday, when the store opened, there would be a line outside the door of kids and their parents waiting to get shirts of the characters they didn't yet have.

In another year's time, the Mandy's Menagerie t-shirt line was being nationally distributed through the Montgomery Ward's Catalogue, was sold in Bloomingdales, and appeared in the Christmas window at Lord and Taylor in New York City. Then, Miranda graduated from high school, and life took over.

Miranda went on to study at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City. She earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Theory and Composition, and her Masters degree in Music Education. After college, Miranda worked as a singer/songwriter by night and a music educator by day. For the next 10 years, Miranda was an artist in residence for the Lincoln Center Institute in New York City. She taught music in hundreds of schools throughout the Tri-State area. The combination of her passions for songwriting and teaching children eventually led her back to the world of Mandy's Menagerie.

By providence, Miranda met Jenny Baldwin, a Mandy look-alike and former licensing and marketing executive at Nickelodeon and ABC Television. Miranda and Jenny formed their company, Toucan Tell It Productions, LLC, and so the development of Mandy's Menagerie began.