According to Wikipedia, "Amigurumi (編み包み ?, lit. Knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll. Amigurumi are typically cute animals (such as bears, rabbits, cats, dogs, etc.), but can include inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features. Amigurumi can be either knitted or crocheted. In recent years crocheted amigurumi are more popular and more commonly seen."
I recently found the blog of someone who made these in Guatemala. I think they're really cute and they remind me of another crocheted animal that made an impact on me: the crocheted Care Bear Talia got when she had a multi-cystic kidney removed at Children's Hospital when she was only a few days away from being three months old. I remember all of the mental anguish I went through thinking of what could happen while she was in surgery and then seeing her tiny hand with the IV. When the nurse brought that to her, it was like someone gave me a much-needed hug and reminded me that in the middle of this hard time someone cared enough that they took the time to hand craft something to show their concern.
Who would have thought that a cute little amigurumi could spark such memories?
I think my favorite on the blog was the one of the little purple elephant. She also has an Etsy account.