I’ve been a big fan of the American Girl collection almost since it’s beginning. I still remember the excitement of “finally” getting my doll (Kirsten, if you’re interested), as a reward for making high honor roll in sixth grade. It seemed like all the other girls in my class had theirs first, but I think I actually appreciated mine more because I had to wait and work for it. I’m equally looking forward to when my girls get their American Girl dolls someday (Bunny had been wanting Kit for over a year, and I’m hoping maybe when she turns six she can get her).
While I’m still a little annoyed that the company chose to “retire” on of the original three dolls, Samantha, along with her friend Nellie, and all the stuff that went with them, I’m pretty excited about the new doll that just came out. Rebecca Rubin is part of a Russian-Jewish family in New York City in 1914 (thus replacing Samantha, who was from 1904). I (somewhat surprisingly) think it’s great that they’re introducing a Jewish doll–it’s a culturally and historically significant addition to the American Girl family. I also think it’s great that among her accessories is a “Sabbath set,” and I’m hoping for a Hanukkah set in the future.
I do think it would be nice if they added a German Lutheran (shocking, I know!) or Italian or Irish Catholic doll at some point. While I think the Christian faith of a few of the dolls has been mentioned in passing, I don’t think it’s ever been as big of a part of any of their stories (with the possible exception of Kirsten, and the celebration of St. Lucia Day, but even that seemed more cultural than religious) as this newest character. And as I’m guessing that Molly and Kirsten, the other two “original” dolls will probably be retired soon, there is certainly opportunity to create a character whose Christian faith is as ingrained in her life as Rebecca’s Jewish faith appears to be in hers.