Saturday, October 30, 2021

American Girl reviews

I loved American Girl books as a kid! Now there are lots more and I'm enjoying (or occasionally not enjoying) getting to re-read the ones I loved and discover the new ones as I review the books for my kids' shelves. I wanted to put all my American Girl reviews in one place so now here they are! I'll update this list as I read new ones. 

Addy... One of my very favorites! I think this was my first American Girl book and I have fond memories of it. Addy and her mother are slaves who run away to avoid being separated after they have already just been separated from her father and brother. This was my first book that touched on something deep and it opened up my compassionate young heart to a world I'd never known. As an adult I particularly appreciate her relationship with Momma and their faith. I also wrote a short essay about the book and made an Ida Bean doll which my entry into a special American Girl tea party. 

Chrissa... I have read far too many bully books that just fell flat, where the bullying was almost glorified until the last two pages. This book was well done and was very realistic in my opinion. Bullying comes in many forms but this one mirrored some of my own experiences from the same time period. 

Felicity... This Colonial story seems to be a fan favorite, maybe because of the horses or Felicity's spunky personality. I didn't care for the attitude, or Felicity sneaking out at night for a good cause, so DNF (did not finish). 

History Mystery 12: Riddle of the Prairie Bride... I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew the gist of what was going to happen but I didn't have all the details completely worked out so that made for a good mystery in my opinion. I believe the History Mysteries are meant for a 5th or 6th grade reading level. 

History Mystery 17: Mystery at Chilkoot Pass... This one had a few fibs but I overall liked it alright. Definitely a fun setting! 

Isabelle... This modern story (with strong dance and fashion design elements) was generally fine, though I didn't love the altercations with a bratty classmate. I liked the movie even more and we'll be watching it in December since it's Nutcracker-themed. 

Josefina... I love Josefina's gentle spirit, her family dynamics, and her faith. These books have a lot of fun Spanish words to go along with all the rich culture. Set in New Mexico. 

Julie... This one is set in 1970s San Francisco. I wanted it to work out but there were a bunch of little things that eventually all added up to make this one a no for my kids. 

Kaya... DNF because I didn't love some meanness. 

Kit... Name-calling and general mean-spiritedness made this depression-era series a DNF for me. 

Kirsten... I loved this pioneer series as a kid and as an adult I also appreciate the information about Sweden. Kirsten and her family are brand new American citizens (the first book starts on the ship!) making a new life for themselves in Minnesota. 

Maryellen... I didn't finish the first book. I didn't necessarily give it a fair chance but it was a three-minor-strikes-and-you're-out approach. I know one strike was for a somewhat anti-stay-at-home-mom sentiment and one was for a comment about parents getting mad if you try to take too much of their time (not completely untrue I guess, but definitely a negative approach to relationship!) But I can't remember the third now. Nothing huge, just felt like I'd rather quit and focus on books that align more with my familial values. 

Meet Claudie and Adventures with Claudie... I was happy with the two books I read in this new historical series from American Girl, set in 1920s Harlem and followed by a trip to visit family in Georgia. The Harlem Renaissance is something I didn't know a lot about so i enjoyed this.

Melody... I've still only read the first one so far but I really enjoyed their family dynamics and faith along with the compelling look at the Civil Rights movement. 

Molly... Name-calling and general mean-spiritedness made this WWII series a DNF for me. But the movie was a yes! 

The Night Flyers... This history mystery had a few bratty parts and a few issues that weren't addressed as well as I like but I was overall okay with it for the age group (6th ish grade).

Rebecca... Rebecca's series takes place at the start of WWI and focuses a lot on her starlet dreams and her Jewish heritage. I like her big family and generally enjoyed this series. My son has read five of the series now and this one was his favorite. 

Saige... I've only read the first book but I like this modern story, mostly focused on Saige's friendships and her relationship with her grandma and how those two things like up with her love for art and horses. Set in New Mexico. 

Samantha... General mean-spiritedness made this early 1900s series a DNF for me. But I did enjoy The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery 

Wellie Wishers... This series is about a modern group of friends and is for an earlier reading level, I'd say 2nd or 3rd grade reading level. I love the gentle lessons on being a good friend and my girls adore the realistically whimsical nature of their garden-themed lives. This series became a TV show so there are also Wellie Wisher leveled readers available for even younger fans. 

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