Monday, November 2, 2009

American Girl


Why I like American Girl dolls:

- My girls love to play with the dolls.
- The eighteen inch dolls are well made and appealing.
- There are dolls that represent different historical periods dating from 1764 to 1974.
-The dolls represent different racial, religious, and ethnic backgrounds with hair color and texture, eye color and skin tone to match the features of their genetic heritage.
-There are contemporary dolls, too, some of which can be ordered with a choice of skin, eye, and hair color/texture – a “Just Like You” doll.
-Each doll comes with a book

Why I like American Girl books:

-There are historical fiction books for each historical character.
-The books are realistic and educational.
-The subject matter of the books is age appropriate.
-There are books for each contemporary doll character.
-There are guide books, game books, craft books, grooming books, etc. written to interest tweens.
-The books can be ordered, but are also available in book stores, public libraries, and school libraries.
-There is an American Girl magazine that contains many articles that interest young girls and tweens.

Why my girls like American Girl dolls (in their words):

-They are fun to play with.
-I like to brush and style the hair; with braids, bows, and ponytails.
-I pretend they are people. They talk, go to school, and go on vacation.
-I dress them in pajamas and then dress them again when they get up.
-We have fashion shows.

Why my girls like American Girl books (in their words):

-The books are easy to read.
-The books are good.
-It was funny and we laughed a lot when Mommy kept reading a character in Kaya’s story as Brown Bear instead of Brown Deer.
-We learned about things like the Great Depression and the Nez Perce tribe of Native Americans.

American Girl entered our home in 2002, when Aunt Cheryl gave Hayley “Meet Addy,” and it’s been a snowball effect since then. Because I have three daughters who have asked for a doll at birthday time and for Christmas, and because Grandma has indulged them as well, we have more dolls than I care to admit.

I’m guessing that most families do not have “lots” of American Girl dolls. At ninety-five dollars, it is considered a toy for “the rich” – a relative term. And, I realize that a twenty dollar doll can be just as enjoyable.

As with anything highly successful and popular, American Girl has had its share of controversy. When it was acquired by Mattel, I heard a few gripes, and now it has a homeless doll, “Gwen,” that’s getting some criticism.

The dolls have been positive for my girls; lest twenty years from now they end up on the psychiatrist’s sofa with some deep-rooted problem that stems from having too many American Girls dolls.

By 2013, we will most likely have bought our last American Girl doll; and then it’ll be something else.

Are you familiar with American Girl dolls, books and stores? What is your opinion: positive, negative, indifferent?

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15 comments:

Menopausal New Mom said...

Hi Anita, I'm familiar with the American Girl dolls even though I live in Canada. Oprah did an entire show devoted to them a couple of years ago and showed all the frenzy around the stores when they open. The kids seem to like them but yes, they are expensive. I don't know if they are available in our big cities or not but if I did want to pick one up for my 3 1/2 year old, there is always eBay! I'm curious to read what the other moms think of them.

Menopausal New Mom said...

Oh Anita, when you get a minute, there are some awards at my place for you! Congratulations!

the mom said...

I will check out the link. The books and magazine seems very interesting.
My girls rarely play with dolls, they prefer playmobile and lego, but they love books and magazine. And since I try to keep their English alive, I prefer reading in English to them. American culture and history would be a great topic!
Yes, before the girls, and when they were small, I travelled a lot in America. I love your country.

Anita said...

MENO DEB, The dolls are only available by mail order, or at one of their stores:Chicago, NY, and I think Atlanta and LA. We've been to the Chicago and NY stores while traveling in those cities and it was such a thrill for my daughters.
At 3 1/2, your daugther hasn't discovered the craze yet, and maybe she won't. Some kids could care less about the dolls. But if and when she does, like you said, there's always eBay! :)

I'm going over to your site now to see my awards!!! Busy this morning, but will respond later.
Thank you.

Abby said...

American Girl? What's that?? I know Thomas the Tank Engine through G.I. Joe through Optimus Prime through... well, you get my drift.

$95?!

Anita said...

THE MOM, I think it's so great that you and your children speak English. Oh, how I wish I were bilingual. One of my daughters is studying Spanish, and the other two will start next year, and then two years after that. I wish the public schools here taught foreign languages at an "early" age. some do, but most don't.
So you don't have girly girls. :) Well maybe they are somewhat if they dance. My girls are just beginning to get into sports and other things. Maybe because they don't have a brother.
I think the American Girl books (the historical ones in particular) would be good to learn more about this country from a child's point of view.
Glad you had many opportunities to visit the U.S. I'm sure you'll get back. And I hope to travel to Italy some day, too!

Anita said...

ABBY, you got me on Optimus Prime, but I'll look him/it up because I do have an 8 yar old nephew.

When I read your comment and saw the $95?!, I looked over at one of the dolls in my family room. A pinch of reality hit me and I shook my head, but then I laughed.

Twenty-five years from now, you'll see me in line at the "Antiques Road Show" with all my American Girl dolls gathered in my arms...me and a few other folks. :)

the mom said...

I should say they all three are somewhat of a mix - girly girls/tougher type.
Since the girls came first, they influence little brother more than the other way around...
English is their third language, after Swedish and Italian, thanks to the english speaking aupairs we've had (more economic than English private schools).
Here in Italy they start with English in 1st grade (6yrs old), just that in the end, they never learn how to use the language.
I think you are lucky having English as mother tounge. And Spanish is 1st runner up to Chinese... ;-D

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I loved that my daughters read the American Girl books and even received some of the accessories as gifts but we could never afford the dolls. At this point, with Baby Boo being two, and destructive, it's not the right time to spend 95.00 on one but years from now...maybe.

Anita said...

THE MOM, I agree, Chinese would be near the bottom of my list - no offense to the language. :)

I enjoy hearing about your lives and family. Thanks.

CHOCOLATE, "any" doll with lots of hair in the hands of a two year old is certain disaster. :)

UPDATE IN MY HOUSE - ONLY ONE DOLL REQUEST FOR CHRISTMAS, AND GRANDMA WANTS TO GET IT! I'll get a couple of accessories. We could be nearing the end of this phase sooner than I'd thought!

andrea said...

My daughters and I love the books!! (I like to read what they do so we have something to talk about.) My generous aunt who works for Mattel recently gave the 10-year-old a Kit doll and the 8-year-old a Molly doll. They are beautiful! I am thinking though that my girls and I will probably want to learn to sew so that we can provide them with LOTS of changes of clothes!!

Anita said...

ANDREA, I glad you share my enthusiam, especially for the books! Google "American Girl" clothes or go to eBay - you may find reasonbly priced clothes. Other manufactures make clothes to fit the dolls.
But, get busy on that sewing machine or needle and thread too. Sounds like a fun mother-daughter project.

CHRISTMAS AND OTHER HOLIDAYS ARE AROUND THE CORNER-any other little girls(or big girls) out there craving one of the dolls? :) Let me hear from you.

Hilary said...

We bought Mo a "Bitty-Baby" on our last trip to New York which coincided with her 3rd birthday. I think DH and I were more into it than she was. Of course, we did buy it AT the flagship store in New York, a mini empire unto itself. Maybe if she had seen it with her own eyes, she might have been more enthused --- and we might have been more light in the wallet!

Hilary said...

We bought Mo a Bitty Baby on our last trip to New York, which incidentally coincided with her 3rd birthday. I thin had she been with us, her enthusiasm for the doll would have been greater. I mean, that 5th Avenue store is a mini-empire unto itself! About a block or two before you get there, all you see are little girls with the dolls tucked safely under their arms en route to or coming from that flagship store. As the girls get older, we may try again -- maybe the excitement will be inversely proportional to the amount of money left in our wallets!

Anita said...

HILARY, our family could have been one of those families headed to the American Girl store with dolls in hand. :) The five of us have been to the Chicago store and the New York store. In NY, we lucked up and got into the cafe without a reservation. Now THAT was an experience. :)
I think your're right - the hype makes the dolls more appealing - but, that's with everything. Good advertising and theme - gets us all the time. :)