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American Girl Dolls - worth the price?

Nov 2005

My daughters, 5 and 10, both want an American Girl doll for Christmas. These are expensive and they have a lot of high- priced outfits. But I do like the books that go along with the dolls. Not to mention I can sew dresses for them and teach my girls to sew for them. Has anyone found these dolls worth it? There are some cheaper knock-offs in the toy stores. Has anyone found the cheaper ones to be the same quality? Jeanne


I highly recommend the American Girl dolls. My 10 year old still plays with them, and asks for more accessories for her birthday/Christmas. She has long since stopped playing with Barbie or any other doll. They are pricey, but they hold up well, and the stories that go with them are great. I would recommend purchasing an authentic doll, but getting the accessories at Target or other stores, as they tend to get lost and more beat up than the dolls. And for the ultimate treat, visit the American Girl Place in Chicago or New York. That place is like Mecca for little girls! Sherry
My 11 year-old has 3 American Girl Dolls. For many reasons, I think the dolls although expensive are worth it! I wish we would have purchased these long before the Barbie dolls. We also like the politics of the American Girl company. They donate to helping underpriviledged girls nation wide. We've also visited the stores in Chicago and New York and like the message of the plays performed at the stores. anon
Funny you should ask... I was just in Chicago with a good friend last weekend. She is trying to decide whether to spend the money on an American Girl doll also for her 6 year old. We visited the American Girl store, which is 3 or 4 levels of merchandise, tea salon, beauty shop (for the doll!) etc... You see little girls walking around Michigan Avenue with their dolls or huge packages from the store. These dolls are very popular in the midwest, but we were unsure how popular they are here in California. I think part of the draw is having a playmate who also has the doll, so they can play together (as my niece does with her next door neighbor). I will probably buy Felicity for my daughter when she is old enough to appreciate her as I came from Virgina, and probably Josefina since my husband is Hispanic. I like the historical aspect of the dolls, and although I have not read the stories, apparently they are about the girl being brave and kind (?). That being said, your 10 year old may be at the outer limits of spending $100 for the doll (i.e. how long do you think she will want to play with her?). It is probably a better idea for your younger daughter. Linda
My five year old daughter and a number of her friends love the American Girl Dolls. I was able to get one for about 1/2 price at Toy Go Round on Solano Ave. and also some homemade clothes for her there. I bought the first one on eBay for slightly less than catalog price. There are also patterns for the clothes and not-official, but very cute clothes and furniture for them on eBay. My daughter also loves to read the stories with me. I find them a lovely alternative to Barbie, Bratz, Groovy Girls and all that kind of thing. kathryn
I can't answer your specific questions, but would share these two thoughts/experiences with you: 1) at a recent family portrait session, our 6 year old niece brought her American Girl with her and INSISTED that she have a pic of just her and the doll together (the photographer took one, and it's both adorable and somewhat disturbing...). The doll goes everywhere with her. It was a present from grandparents, and her grandma made it very clear that this was an expensive gift that she would have to take very special care of...and she does. She is SO careful with it - it's actually been an effective lesson for her. 2) As far as buying a knock-off version: looking back on my own childhood, and from what I know of little girls from my years of working with kids, it is very unlikely that the knock- off version will suffice. Your daughters have thousands of dolls to choose from - but the specifically want Am Girl, so that they can be just like their friends. Nothing else will do, and unless you have extraordinary kids - which you may very well have - a knock-off will be embarrassing. I would spend the money on the doll, and then perhaps you can get by with the homemade clothes. anon
In a word: YES! American Girl Dolls are great quality, great fun and when they break they go to the A.G. Hospital and come back good as new, rather than ending up in the garbage. My 9 year old and now (This Christmas) my 4 year old have loved playing with them and actually following the stories at times. As you rightly pointed out, you can easly make the clothes, which has been a really fun thing to do with my older daughter. You can also, on a frequesnt basis, pick up cheaper, gently used outfits, accessories and furniture at Toy-Go-Round on Solano. They are expensive but worth it if for no other reason than they can be repaired rather than thrown away.
hard for me to admit and easy to be sickened by the excess of all the accessories, but I do actually think the dolls are worth it and the outfits and accessories I have seen are adorable, well made, and get played with. There is no excuse for the expensive furniture imo, also beautiful, but I have informed my daughters it costs as much or more than our own furniture (we buy used- but still) and if we were gizillionaires I would rather give that money to charity than buy a 150 dollar doll bed. That said, they consider the dolls real and play with them more and differently than other dolls and toys. I think the fakes are o.k. until or unless they are very savvy of the AG catalogs, etc. but they are more generic and not a specific historical character- so if they are wanting the American girl of today (choose your own hair-eye) a fake would be worth it, I saw a beautiful Asian one for under 20 at Marshalls once. But the historical ones with the stories are a bit different and the modern ''girl of the year'' also has (one) book to go along. The Target fakies have a much less appealing face in my opinion. also I have to recommend the Samantha American Girl Holiday movie, which I resisted renting, but turned out to be really well done (really!), enjoyable, informative, even a bit of a tear-jerker and we now own that too. I don't think 5 is too young (they say 8 and up) unless she will want to bathe it, hair-cut it, etc. others would be better for that sort of play. You may find one used on craiglist, they've been around long enough that teenagers are selling theirs when they move on. I searched a lot on ebay and the pricing goes really high on ebay- sometimes more than the catalog price for one used with everything the same (made by mattel, etc.) BTW the website www.buyblue.org rates big companies on categories like responsible recycling practices, humane practices, non-sweatshops, and also how much they donate to whom -republicans, democrats or neither- I was surprised to see mattel is not a Bush supporter rather comes out giving to democrats and appear to be fairly progressive. ''grandmother ''to 3 American Girls

Where can I buy American girl dolls locally?

Dec 1998

I am sure that you cannot buy American girls except through their catalog, but you may be able to buy them used at places like Toy Go Round in Berkeley. Toby


The American Girl doll is sold only through the catalog, but the company is good about shipping immediately and you can have the item(s) shipped FedEx if necessary. If you haven't already ordered an American Girl, look into the Magic Attic doll. It's the same concept, 18" doll from a catalog with wardrobe and accessories to purchase, and with books related to the costumes. However, the doll has a hard plastic (the same as the arms and legs material) body instead of a stuffed one, which seems more durable to me, and it is about $30 less. Eleanor
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