I bought Miss Q her first American Girl when I was in Chicago in 2013 and passed by the flagship store. We’re talking two floors of a very large retail store devoted to All Things American Girl.
She was only 2.5 at the time, but I got it anyway. And it has stood on a stand as decor in her bedroom ever since. Because that thing was $120 and there’s a reason it reads “8+” on the packaging. And while she looks very pretty up there on a very high shelf that no one can really reach except Big B, she’s not exactly providing a lot of fun in Miss Q’s life.
I’m sure I’m not alone, which is likely why American Girl recently introduced WellieWishers, a new line of dolls targeted to the 5+ age range and costing about half the price of their bigger sisters.
WellieWishers have vinyl bodies instead of the fabric ones on American Girl dolls — welcome news for parents like me who are no stranger to tea party spills and marker mistakes. And this makes outdoor imaginative play a lot more palatable, too. Because parents who’ve spent more than a hundred dollars on a doll may get heart palpitations when they see that doll being escorted outside for a play date.
There are five racially diverse dolls in the range right now — Camille, Emerson, Willa, Kendall and Ashlyn. We decided to go with the strawberry blond (nearly a full redhead but not quite!) because we’ve got blond and brunette dolls already. Miss Q was delighted to meet Willa and get out her little accessory pack, which consisted of binoculars, an acorn hip-pouch complete with a compass, a granola bar, bird-watching guide and a canteen.
Miss Q was also pretty chuffed with her matching Happy Hedgehog outfit. And I liked its little details, like ear flaps on the shirt and a good-quality cotton “crinoline” under the skirt. If you’re worried about sizing, the WellieWishers outfits for girls fit just like GAP Kids.
I’m a lot more comfortable with Miss Q getting a little rough with this doll in her everyday play, and we’re looking forward to exploring the other WellieWishers and their stories together.