News has been circling around about the new historical American Girls due to be released this year, 2011, and possibly next year, 2012. There is also rumor there will be another historical next year. These dolls took the American Girl fan base completely by surprise. There are many things different about this line of dolls than ever before. The characters focus on being from different worlds but becoming friends (a bit like the Samantha and Nellie story). The main historical focal point is the break out of Yellow Fever in 1853.
The first significant factor is they FINALLY have another girl of color. Many fans say they have been asking for an African American girl in New Orleans or for Civil Rights. And many fans are actually looking forward to her more than the other one! I guess Mattel was probably wrong to wait so many years to release another African American, assuming she wouldn’t sell. From my understanding, the African American girl’s name is Cecile Rey, and the other girl’s name is Marie-Grace Gardner.
Another significant difference in this line is TWO girls are the focus instead of one. They are not “Best Friend” dolls. Best Friend dolls are considered an “accessory”, as one fan put it, to the MAIN dolls. These dolls are a part of the main story, and each have three books dedicated to her to complete the six book series. They both come from different worlds and backgrounds but they happen to become friends. They also will probably have a huge fashion line considering they have to come out with outfits together for promotional reasons. That will cost some money for Mattel, eh? I wager they will have a movie soon, yes?
The normal “title” changes have already been made with the introduction of Kaya, but now there are even more changes to the outline of the books. Now it seems these books are following the pattern of the Girl of the Year Dolls. The popularity of the Girl of the year dolls have influenced the American Girl historical dolls to only focus on one event and direct it from one era to one year.
The changes to the books and story don’t stop there. Instead of the year focusing on the traditional “4” pattern, they’ve set it back to “3”, breaking the pattern and tradition. These dolls have broken all of the traditions of American Girl, and have adopted the Girl of the Year patterns. The year is around Kirsten’s. This is very confusing. It’s public knowledge that the Kirsten doll has been archived, but I was told the books were still being sold. I wonder how they can promote them differently? With the new books being around the exact same time as Kirsten’s, it seems to me that these stories will not focus on American history as a whole but New Orleans history as a state.
That is another difference. The former American Girls focused on eras that affected the nation as whole, such as the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. This series seems to focus on one event that happened in only one year, and mostly affected one state. It is also not a very distinct moment in history, as some of the other American Girls have been. It would have focused more on a broader history if the story took place in the west, as everyone thought it would, but everyone was in for a surprise. Maybe next year it will be western themed.
1) I LOVE the idea of two different girls, different social classes, having their own sides of the story! It really shocked me in a good way! I was hoping they would be twins, but I am still happy that they are two girls who learn to settle their differences. It will be interesting to see half of the series told one way, and the other half told another.
2) I’m so happy Mattel decided to create an African American Girl. This was another shocking thing they did. I NEVER thought they would even consider it, considering most of their best-selling lines have been Caucasian dolls. It really surprised me, almost as much as Julie did, but for different reasons…Anyway, it’s also good she is not stereotyped and most people will learn that not ALL African Americans were slaves. Some were very well-to-do.
3) The doll dresses are lovely and so are the characters. It gives me hope that they will be lovely dolls. I’m really excited to see how the dolls look in person.
4) New Orleans is an interesting setting. The pictures are sure to capture my eye. It’s also good that American Girl is trying to focus more on Southern American Girls. Most of the American Girls have been from the North. It’s great that they’re giving a little Southern history as well.
1) I am not too fond of the historical focal point. As lovely and well planned as the dolls might have been, the historical value seems mushed together, just for the sake of selling the dolls. I feel that American Girl company is trying to pull away from it’s historical value. This is all due to the success of their Girl of the Year dolls, who are not as realistic neither do they educate people on the day-to-day lives of American Girls, mostly because it’s only one book, so they can’t work with it much.
Yellow Fever was not an era in history. It was an event, it took place mostly in New Orleans. The year also overlaps Kirsten’s year so badly it just seems like they didn’t care at all. I understand she is archived, but her books are still being sold, and people recognize Kirsten as coming from that time. This stomps any chances for Kirsten EVER coming back. It’s important that each girl has their own year so that no one will be confused as to each doll’s era, which is the main promotion of the doll (such as Addy is the Civil War era doll, Samantha is the Victorian Era doll, Rebecca is the pre-WWI doll, etc). These dolls are the…Yellow Fever Epidemic dolls? Not going to cut it for me. Next they should make the Cholera epidemic dolls too…And the era doesn’t even relate to the story. Like Felicity was trying to find her own independence and loyalty at a time of the Revolutionary War, where independence and loyalty was being questioned for the first time. So what is this story? Two girls find their differences among the social classes, and oh, there’s an epidemic. Huh? How does their relationship teach us about the epidemic? I can’t say I can judge the story totally, as I haven’t read it yet, but so far it seems like Mattel completely forgot about researching enough history. The story has morals like all children’s stories. But what is making American Girl unique anymore? What makes them different from Magic Attic Club and Global Friends dolls? American Girl is neglecting their historical fans because the majority fan base is dense when it comes to history and keep asking for short periods in time like the Roaring Twenties. Only ADULTS were affected by the Roaring Twenties. But how much you want to bet Mattel will find some ridiculous theme to put behind it?
2) What happened to the American Girl that used to focus on the unique part of the girl as relation to the history rather than the girls being “pretty”? Their last couple of lines have been a bunch of “pretty girls”. Whatever happened to dolls like Molly and Kit, dolls who relate to REAL girls. These dolls just seem to fit more and more into mainstream America, which promotes wealth, fame, and superficiality. In fact, the last three dolls have all had long curly hair. Talk about a lack of variety, ya?
3) Now that there is an African American doll, I’m most CERTAIN Addy will be archived next. I thought she would be safe because of her ethnicity, but now we know that no doll is safe, and she might be the next to go because she’s not as “pretty”. I dislike the “pretty” emphasis, but kids today are taught to be superficial. The weird part is the most important times in history, such as American Independence, are being archived, for a time in history as inadequate as this? The birth of America vs the Yellow Fever Epidemic of only New Orleans? Mattel is really twisted for this one.
Well, that’s my spin on the new dolls. What do you guys think? Post your comments and let me know!