We have been devoted and enthusiastic fans of American Girl forever, pretty much. Our older sisters were into them before we can even remember, and naturally our historian parents endorsed the original concept of teaching history (and life lessons) through literature, dolls and authentic replicas of antique items. They’d discovered the books first, through a Christian bookseller and later used the Teacher Guides for part of all of our second-grade(ish) Language Arts study. Our home-school room is still decorated with several of the map posters that accompanied the guides, as well as our own attempt at creating a similar map of our own hometown. That project was rather a nightmare, as you can probably imagine the difficulty of cartography when an academic perfectionist, an artistic genius and an idealistic dreamer are adamant about their own ideas being best. Many wars are fought on the streets, and over boundary lines. We (and by we, we really mean those three) nearly came to blows over the streets themselves, and just how straight a line should be.
Actually, though, that isn’t unusual for those three. But we’re getting away from the point.
Lately, we have been underwhelmed with American Girl. Maybe because we know so much of what came before, we know how much has changed – and contrary to popular belief, change is not always good. Change does not always equal progress or improvement. Sometimes change = Just. Plain. Stinks.
Now, we don’t wish to get into debating the merits of an historical line, or a modern line or a Girl of the Year line, etc. We aren’t in the mood to analyze business tactics, either. We simply feel like talking about some things we would love to see from American Girl. (If you’re guessing today’s topic is brought to you by the Idealistic Dreamer mentioned above, you’d be half correct! ;))
The Top 5 Things We’d Love To See From American Girl:
5. Miniature Books
Yes, they already have made some miniature books. But we want more. And we’d like them available individually, or at least as a book set. But our ultimate wish for mini books are leather-bound hardback editions of classics, with gilded edges, gorgeous illustrations and teeny ribbon bookmarks. Even better – a way of creating our own story and illustrations and having it miniaturized into such a miniature masterpiece! Just think how thrilling it’d be to see yourself on your very own “About The Author” page in your very own book, that is exquisitely bound just for your favorite eighteen-inch companion.
We recently came across two tiny books like those we dream of, that were replicas of actual miniature books created for a royal dollhouse. The books are exactly like the hardbacks of the time, but only about two inches or so. The first we saw was a fairytale or similar story, and though tempted, we didn’t buy it. The next, though, we found a few weeks later and just had to have- it’s a miniature Sherlock Holmes story! Not only that, it was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle just for the Royal Dollhouse’s miniature library. Apparently many popular authors of the time contributed personally to the library by either providing one of their stories or writing something new. Don’t you wish, as we do, that such a fun endeavor would be considered worthwhile amongst adults today? The dollhouse was for an adult, too, by the way. And sounds divine! It is quite possibly the number one thing we’d love to see someday. It was made as exact a replica of a real house as possible for the time, and many companies made teeny tiny versions of their wares or goods for the household.
4. Mermaid Sequins
The sequins that can be flattened one way to show one color or pattern, and flattened the opposite direction to reveal a different color or pattern are so fun. We have seen them everywhere from school supplies to pillows to clothing. But so far, we haven’t seen anything with them for our dolls. Does anyone even make sequins that small? We don’t know if it’s even feasible, but we sure hope so!
3. Blind Bags/ Surprise Inside Packages
We were at Target recently, and noticed that these have become a major category in the Toys section. And for good reason, who doesn’t love suspense and surprise of a mystery gift? Even Sora has been known to risk a few dollars on a mystery Spirit mini horse collectible. And we all know how
tight-fisted careful a steward she is with her allowance. (Her allowance isn’t allowed out much.)
We don’t know why American Girl hasn’t entered this space yet. It seems like a perfect opportunity for Wellie Wisher fans, to us, since the ages and sizes align so well with the popular mystery toy lines. But we’d also love to see stuff for the 18 inchers, too. Maybe a surprise outfit (tee and shorts or leggings; basic styles but fun and creative designs) could be the grand prize, led to by a series of littler surprises (such as jewelry, stickers, mini magazine or book, hair accessory, etc.). Or what about just blind bags of mini trinkets/ collectibles for doll rooms, in themes inspired by the BeForever and Girl of the Year lines but intended for the Truly Me/ Create Your Own dolls?
2. Subscription Boxes!
This idea is so exciting, it deserves an exclamation point. 🙂 These are kind of like the blind bag idea above, but on a larger scale. Though possibly less fun to unpack… Still, imagine coming home from a long, dreary, tedious, bum-numbing day at school (or library study session or fruitless spy mission in the frigid rain) to discover you have mail. Real mail. An actual package, addressed to you! Full of new and exciting things for you to bestow upon your trusty sidekick and ever faithful companion, who may be only eighteen inches tall but has never once let you down or failed to cheer you up. Doesn’t she, or he, deserve a treat? Maybe a little pampering? And how about the box including a fun project, in addition to ready-to-enjoy goodies? A kit for making Kit’s Scooter, perhaps, but not necessarily for Kit? Or a pair of recipe cards – one for you to make using real ingredients (not included) and one for making a doll version using polymer clay and other artist materials (which would be included)? The potential here is invigorating – historical themes, STEAM themes, simpler things like a doll’s t-shirt of the month club, etc.
1. Brand Partnerships!!
Okay, we didn’t quite know what to call this idea. It began forming when we were browsing the Back To School lines of our two favorite clothing companies, Mini Boden and Janie & Jack. We love Mini Boden’s whimsical designs (they use mermaid sequins!) and range of color options or pattern options. Janie & Jack always have the most darling outfits, and each collection is not only stylish but offers enough variety that we can each find something we love without always wearing the same things. We love having the ability to dress differently, but still look like a team. Because that is exactly who we are – not entirely individual but not joined at the hip, either. We don’t mind dressing alike, but it is nice not *having* to dress alike just because there aren’t other options (and for us, dressing without some thought to what our sisters are wearing just isn’t an option. We’ve tried it, and just don’t like it.).
So, we would love for our dolls to be able to wear the same styles, and to enjoy the same degree of variety and choices. Really, if someone could just invent a device that would, say, scan something and then groan and wheeze and sputter and shake until eventually coughing out (in a cloud of steam) an exact miniature replica that perfectly fit the intended doll (or other recipient) – life would be perfect. But, until that happens, we think some sort of partnership between AG and our favorite brands might be a good substitute. Again, this might not be at all feasible, but that’s okay. We’re just daydreaming here, after all. 🙂
In addition to the clothing companies we mentioned, our third preferred brand to doll-size a significant portion of their merchandise would be Disney. They have so much fun stuff, but sometimes we would actually rather have it for our dolls than for ourselves. We don’t wear character graphics much, for some reason, but are often admiring the clothing options available through Disney Store. If they came in doll-size, we’d be able to collect them and enjoy them more. And we have it on good authority that dolls love cuddly plushies just as much as anyone, so why not make more just for them?
And that concludes our wish list – thanks for reading all the way through!
What would be on your list?
Zipporah and Chickadee