Definitely a Girl's Book Series
As usual when it comes to trendy things I am a bit behind the times. I had heard about the American Girl dolls years ago as well as the books. But, my first experience with American Girls was with the American Girl History Mysteries series. I definitely would have been a huge fan if they had been around in my day. Well, I am now too, but from a different perspective. Recently, I happened upon a stack of brand new and nearly new American Girl historical character books at a secondhand sale. On a whim I bought all they had, eighteen to be precise. At a dollar apiece for hardback it was something I couldn’t pass up. The stack included at least one girl from each of the time periods.
Now, I must confess I have been a big skeptic of the doll collection, but primarily from the marketing and pricing. However, when I was at the elementary school library the series was a big hit and I thought more highly of the books from the get go anyway. I had indulged my curiosity back then with reading a few of the “Meet so and so” books, but never got past the seemingly cookie cutter format. However, I have now had time to leisurely sit (not really with a little one running around) and have now read all the ones I purchased. I admit I was more than pleasantly surprised at how nicely put together the stories were and how easily the historical information flowed without a teaching feeling. I am all for a variety of styles of writing and tones, but I really liked the positive attitude conveyed through the characters and the situations they encountered. Previously, I had recommended the books to students because of popularity and ease of text, but know I see there is more to it than I originally thought.
The books are recommended for girls 7 to 8 and up, which seems about right. I think I still prefer the intrigue of the History Mysteries, but the historical character books are worth the time to read and share. If I had to choose a favorite from the character series, it would be a toss up between Josefina and Kaya.