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Product Type: Toys
Age: Late Elementary School Years
Categories: Dolls and Huggables


2014 Awards
American Girl Beforever Samantha & Book
(American Girl $115 Score:)

Samantha, an American girl at the dawn of the 20th Century, is being brought up by her grandparents to be a proper young lady of her day. But her privileged life does not prevent her from befriending a servant girl and understanding her very different circumstances. American Girl introduced Samantha in 1986 and she is reintroduced this season in a new line of historical dolls with a refreshed look. Her original look had more of a historic period piece costume; while the update has a far more modern look. That said, we expect that many of the original Samantha doll owners will be eager to bring their daughters an update of their memorable doll. Samantha is the first, but not the last of the well-loved collection to be updated. There are new books and accessories, as well. Dressed in a charming pink dress with ruffled collar and velvet sash, she is a beauty. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2014 Awards
Global Girl Doll Collection
(Global Girl Dolls $89.99 Score:)

Older girls may have put away their baby dolls, but they often still long for one last doll to treasure and this collection certainly fits the bill. These are 21" dolls each dressed and styled for a specific country. These are nothing like your mother's or grandmother's foreign doll collection with traditional costumes. Tatiana from Russia, Vivienne from France, Mei Ling from China, Marcela from Argentina, Amahle from South Africa, and Tiffany from New York wear stylish and current sophisticated outfits. Each doll was made with a unique face mold and coloring that reflects the world of today's girls. The soft-bodied dolls are poseable and can sit as well as stand. They come dressed with underwear, pierced earrings, coats and hats or lighter outer wear, and casual sports outfits. Each has shoes, handbags, and a beautiful head of hair to style and re-style. A book ($9.99) is sold separately for each doll and features both fiction and non-fiction to acquaint the reader with life styles for differing cultures. They are so new, they are only sold on line through

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2014.

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2013 Award
Corolle Les Cheries Cecile A La Tour Eiffel
(Corolle $51.99 Score:)

We want to be Cecile when we grow up - down to her two-toned Chanel-inspired ballet slippers. Ready to tour all the sights in Paris, Cecile is the latest addition to this Platinum Award winning line of 13" dolls that celebrate girls (not girls dressed up as women). There are additional dolls and clothes in this collection (happily, they can all share the same wardrobe).  Each comes with an all vinyl body and the signature scent of vanilla. Tre joile!

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on

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2013 Award
Clementine, A Girl for all Time
(A Girl for all Time $134.99 Score:)

Clementine, is a 1940's English girl, with an instantly lovable wistful look, auburn hair, green eyes, and clothes from the WWII era. Her sheer green floral print dress has slightly puffy sleeves, a dainty buckled belt and a brown satin Peter Pan collar. She wears wonderful brown sandal-like shoes with mesh white knee socks that can be folded down. Her brownish red be-ribboned felt hat has a rolled brim and is a perfect foil for her lovely bobbed hair. As extras: we love her fitted pink coat with matching beret and she should be heading to Covent Garden or some such place in her lilac party dress that is topped off with a feather boa and party shoes to match. Clementine's story actually begins during the evacuation in 1939 wartime London. Newest of the Girl for All Time collection, she is 14-inches tall and totally jointed at the knees, elbows, and hips, making her easier to pose than comparable dolls. Like previous Girl for All Time winners, Matilda, a Tudor girl and Amelia, a Victorian girl, Clementine's details are noteworthy.  Designed for play, she and others in the collection will likely become treasured collectibles for the lucky few.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2013.

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2012 Award
Merida Collector Doll
(Disney $99 Score:)

A stunning 18" version of Merida steps out of the film Brave and onto the shelf where she can be admired by young collectors. We do not usually do collector dolls and this red-haired beauty in her royal robes and velvet gown is not a play doll. That said, she will fill a special place for older girls. There are several other versions of Merida that have soft bodies, tons of hair and a much lower price tag. Our testers especially liked the Merida Toddler girl($20) with her quirky smile and jaunty look. Fashion doll fans like the 16" princess ($20) who is wearing a much less pricey knockoff of the same outfit the collector doll is wearing. 6 & up.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on

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2012 Award
Amelia, A Girl For All Time Doll
(A Girl for All Time $134.99 Score:)

From our friends across the pond, comes a new collection of girl dolls that will give our well-loved historic American Girl Dolls a run for the money. The dolls, each from a different time period, are executed with the kind of finesse of a Masterpiece Theater production. Amelia, a Victorian girl, is about to turn 13. Her wardrobe, a pink Victorian party dress, her velvet opera cloak, and a gauzy blue stage costume are all part of the fare. She comes dressed in a charming school girl's blue cotton dress, a straw hat, and two toned button shoes. Her jointed arms and legs make her playable, although she looks in every way like a worthy collectible - the kind you were supposed to keep on a shelf. Each additional outfit is pricey, but a stunning time piece that older girls (and even collectors) will appreciate. Her two-piece pink party dress has a lace-trimmed bodice with tiny buttons, a skirt with bows, a lace hat with a puff of white feathers, and pink silk slippers. The A Girl for All Time collection actually begins with a sterner looking doll, Matilda, a Tudor girl of 13, who becomes a lady in waiting in the court of Henry VIII. She also has a marvelous set of clothing and an interesting back-story. Each of the dolls has a novel (we have not read them yet) that will introduce older girls of 8 & up to a chapter of English history. These are seriously designed for older girls, for that last beautiful doll that is often remembered or even treasured as a lasting gift of childhood. Our review of the books will come later. 8 & up. These are only available at this time online.

Age: Later School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Award
American Girl Caroline Abbott, War of 1812
(American Girl $105 Score:)

Newest addition in the historical doll and book collection, Caroline Abbott lived during the time of the second American War of Independence, the War of 1812. Caroline, a lovely blonde 18" doll has blue eyes and comes dressed in a long pink dress, pantaloons, and pink shoes. She is the daughter of a shipbuilder and lives in Sackets Harbor, New York. When her father is captured by the British, Caroline has to try to live up to a promise she gave her father to prove her steadiness and courage. Her dream is to captain her own ship one day. Kathleen Ernst has authored six books about this brave young girl. Meet Caroline is the first and comes with the doll. No doubt there will be a sailing boat, craft kits, historically accurate clothes, and other accessories. We know a lot of little ones can't wait for this kind of doll, but the story part and the details are really most appropriate for the school years girl.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012.

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2012 Awards
Huggalo Collection
(Huggalo $19.95 Score:)

Huggalos are soft huggable dolls with a dedicated place on their chest for placing a photo of someone special. There's Doodle Dude (made of canvas and intended to be written on), Camo Joe (done in green fleece camaflouge), Huggsley (our favorite - he comes with a cape and is clearly the super hero of the line), and Camo Flo (same idea as Camo Joe but done in pink).  We think this collection will have an audience with not only the preschool set--but tweens/teens.  The line has a sense of humor and whimsy to it that will likely have wide appeal.

SNAP: Having a photo of a family member can be a comfort take-along when going out into the world. This one is less young looking than most and a little more amusing.

Age: Toddlers, Preschool, Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on

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2012 Award
Barbie Dolls of the World, Australia
(Mattel $29.99 Score:)

Collecting dolls of other lands is a passion that frequently begins in the later school years. Girls may feel "too old" to play with dolls but still like having them in their rooms. The current Australian and Irish dolls are fairly reasonably priced for entry level collectors. For this age group they may also spark an interest in finding out more about their doll's country and customs. Mattel has a website with map and games and information dedicated to this collection. Each doll comes with a passport and display stand and is dressed in clothes or costumes that reflect the traditional or modern dress. Each doll also has a related animal. The Australian doll wears a safari outfit and has a koala bear.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years. Award Year: 2012. Click here to purchase the product on

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2011 Award
Monster High Dead Tired Lagoona Blue Doll and Hydration Station Playset
(Mattel $44.99 Score:)

We have to admit when we first saw this collection, we thought it was the product of young toy designers having their way with making an edgy line of dolls that would really appeal to the older doll collector. We were wrong. The line has captured the attention of older school aged/tweens. It makes sense given the "twilightization" of america's pop culture at the moment. The dolls are all related to monsters we know and love.  There is Frankie Stein, Holt Hyde, Ghoulia Yelps, Abbey Bominable, Clawdeen Wolf, Cleo de Nile (you know the daughter of the Mummy). You get the idea. Each doll has a backstory and there own issues in high school. For example, Cleo de Nile is described as: "a princess but she's not a mean ghoul. This has allowed her to establish genuine relationships with fellow students who can 'Let Cleo be Cleo' even when 'her imperial bossiness' forgets that at Monster High she's just one of the ghouls." 

Our toy testers really loved the Hydration Bed set that comes with Lagoona.  Some will find this line ridiculous, after listening to our testers we know that they like the silliness of it all. While each of the dolls are dressed in over-the-top outfits, the focus is not on their sexuality but on their character. We like that! We also were thrilled that there were boy dolls in this collection as well.

Age: Early School Years, Later School Years, Tweens. Award Year: 2011. Click here to purchase the product on

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