If you were a parent or a child in the last thirty years, you're likely familiar with American Girl dolls. The company is most famous for its line of historical characters, each with her own personality, plot and line of tiny, meticulously researched and recreated accessories (see, for example, Samantha's circa-1904 porcelain water pitcher and basin). Beyond the throwback dolls, the company also debuted girls "of today," which could be personalized by skin tone, eye color and hair, as well as the Bitty Baby line of baby dolls.
The historical and modern dolls are intended for ages 8 and up, with the baby dolls meant for those under 5 years old. What about those tender little kiddos between 5 and 8? American Girl will now be entertaining them with a brand new line, the WellieWishers.
"[W]e've received numerous requests over the years to create a line for younger girls — who may not yet be ready for an 18" American Girl doll — that still imparts those valuable life lessons about what it means to be a good person," says Katy Dickson, the President of American Girl. "WellieWishers is the answer to that call, and we're proud to continue partnering with parents to support their daughters' development at all ages and stages."
Aside from their age focus, the line has a few other distinguishing details that separates it from the American Girl dolls of the past. The characters are all wearing rubber wellie boots (hence the name) and love playing outside; their books have prominent outdoors settings and one of the accessories is their little playhouse. The plots impart the importance of "stand[ing] in another person's wellies," as Dickson puts it.
"While other stories we've done focus more on an individual character, WellieWishers show the relationship between the five friends," she continues. "Each character brings their own unique attributes to their friendship, such as knowing the right word to say or being kind to animals, which in turn helps teach young girls lessons in empathy and compassion."
Since there are still people out there who partly define themselves by their American Girl doll preference (yep, a spunky Samantha over here!), check out each the new characters and their personalities.
"Willa has a love for animals. She's sure to be the first one up a tree — and the last to turn away a furry friend." She's wearing a little hedgehog t-shirt and bunny ears.
"Ashlyn is a princess-in-training (and party-planner extraordinaire). She's just the one to turn a friend's frown upside-down." She's rocking a tiara, obviously.
"Kendall is creative — she's always drawing and inventing. Leave it to her to patch friendly mix-ups with smiles, patience and a handmade card." Like the others, she's a great pattern mixer.
"Emerson loves the spotlight — and the spotlight loves her right back. She loves to make her friends smile with funny jokes, original dance routines and show-stopping songs." Her whole look is dance-inspired.
"Camille adores the ocean — and she's mellow as a mermaid. She's the one her friends turn to when they need someone to listen." She's got a starfish clip in her hair and a single freckle on her cheek.
The WellieWishers line goes on sale June 23, and more information is available on the American Girl website.