Valerie Tripp; Dan Andreasen (Illustrator); Luann Roberts (Illustrator); Keith Skeen (Illustrator)
There is a special place in my heart for the American Girl books. The trend now seems to skew towards the more contemporary dolls, but I have the fondest memories of the historical character dolls. During my childhood the historical dolls were the biggest craze and because they are by no means a bargain (today a historical doll goes for nearly $100), I could only get one and I chose Felicity. The dolls are so wonderful because not only are they fun but they are also educational and empowering to young women.
With each historical character doll comes a series of books that inform young (typically female) readers about the time in which her doll lived. The first book in the American Girl: Felicity series is titled Meet Felicity: An American Girl. In this very manageable chapter book, suggested fora ages eight and up, readers will, as the title suggests, meet Felicity Merriman, or “Lissie,” as her parents call her. Felicity is a nine-year-old, headstrong, tom-boy type girl, growing up in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1774, a year before the Revolutionary War began. She struggles with concentrating on the typical tasks prescribed to females at the time, such as sewing and writing, but has no problem at all when it comes to Penny.
A mean neighbor, Jiggy Nye, owns a beautiful horse and Felicity instantly falls in love. She names the horse Penny for her copper coat and because of her fierce “independence.” Penny does not like being fenced in and the cruel owner threatens to beat and hurt Penny, so Felicity sneaks out every morning to bond with Penny and eventually Penny lets Felicity ride her. When Felicity realizes that Penny is not safe in the hands of Jiggy Nye, she takes it upon herself to free Penny.
The illustrations also add to the story and educational value of the book. Meet Felicity: An American Girl isa great book to ease eight-year-olds away from picture books and into a bit more challenging chapter books. Each chapter is about ten pages but broken up well with images depicting the major plot points of the story and give readers a better sense of what it was like back in the thirteen colonies. And after Felicity’s courageous tale there is also an afterwards that goes more deeply into the era and gives more historical context to the story, and five more books in the Felicity series. Overall, a fantastic start to a wonderful series perfect for any young budding feminist.
IF YOU LOVE THIS BOOK, THEN TRY:
- Meet Samantha, Susan Adler
- Meet Kaya, Janet Shaw