Falling for Maryellen

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

I’m smitten.  Brianna finished Maryellen’s first book “The One and Only” the first day it was released.  It took me two days to finish it because I had to savor it just a little… and make dinner now and again.

I will not spoil the book for you because you simply must read it!  My first reading of the samples that Amazon posted in their “Look Inside” feature gave me the impression that this might be a “lite” book for kids.  I was very wrong.

Maryellen is a 1950s girl struggling to find her identity in a family of 6 kids.  In her efforts to be “the one and only Maryellen” she makes some poorly thought out choices.  Think Leave it to Beaver and I Love Lucy.  I truly did “LOL” during the book!  The comedic moments are accompanied by themes of being unique vs being part of a family, making our individual dreams come true vs sharing our joy with others, and seeing people as individuals vs excluding them based on groups they belong to.  This book is more Molly than Addy or Caroline.  So far Maryellen is not risking her life to intervene in the history of the day.  Her journey in the first book is inward.

Debbie Reynolds. Read the book and learn why I pinned this photo.

Debbie Reynolds. Read the book and learn why I pinned this photo.

Brianna thinks I can be too critical, but my complaints are that Dad isn’t a very developed character — at least so far.  I’m not even sure what his occupation is.  We don’t get to know him in the same was we get to know Caroline’s father in her books.  My other complaint is that the loss of small drawings in the historical books is very sad.  I made myself a Pinterest board as I read, looking up details like “Rosemary Clooney’s gown in White Christmas.”  The story is so much richer when these details have an accompanying image.  A lot of kids may not even have a reference for “coffee-cake” or “round suitcase”…. not to mention “cold cream.”  I hope that the historical dolls won’t lose their appeal as new readers discover their stories without the artwork we all associate with the original books.

Surprisingly, this is a Christmas story in Daytona!  It would make a wonderful gift during the holiday season, or could be read with a loved one who grew up in Maryellen’s time period.  Multi-generation book club?  Absolutely!

I found my heart warmed as I uncovered the deeper significance behind the clothing that is available for the doll.

The Maryellen doll may or may not be on your “wishlist” but don’t miss an opportunity to get to know her as a character.  I hope to hear your thoughts after you’ve read the book too!  No spoilers please.

 

 

 

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “Falling for Maryellen

  1. Sharry A.

    Even though I’m not purchasing the doll or any of her accessories, I will be buying the books. And yes, it is ashame that there are no pics in these books anymore. The only reason AG did this, is so that they could change the BeForever wardrobe on the other historicals, and no picture references in any of the books. It was a marketing decision. But the AG historical line began as a teaching tool; to show girls what life was like for other girls in different time periods. Now if girls want to reference these things, it’s about Google, Pinterest, or even some of the TV retro channels like Me-TV, Antenna TV or Cozi-TV. Another thing I think AG is missing the boat on is the fact that vintage pieces like MaryEllen’s TV or Kit’s radio or Julie’s egg chair, must be hooked up to or contain modern day electronic devices. I can see some little kid telling her teacher at school that yes in fact their were I-Pads in the 50s ‘cos MaryEllen has one in her TV. Again this is a marketing tool. I don’t believe Pleasant Rowland started this company just to get rich. She wanted to teach little girls history in a fun way. I don’t think she would have used historical pieces like an old-time radio or a console TV set as window dressing for modern day electronics. Anyway, I’m glad Valerie Tripp was the one to write ME’s books, b/c she really made Kit’s books come alive. I’m looking forward to reading them.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      Well stated! I agree that the integration of Apple devices is a major step away from the company’s origins. At first I was disappointed that Maryellen didn’t seem to be on the front edge of major historical events, but after reading the book I appreciate the subtle ways Valerie Tripp addresses the good and not-so-good elements of this time in our history. This book will be a better choice for kids who find some of the other historical books too scary (Addy, Josefina). That said, the book is 217 some pages with long chapters and probably a 3rd grade reading level. At Brianna’s school, most girls were over AG by 3rd grade. I hope this book finds an audience outside of AG super fans.

      Like

      Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      I understand! The books did pique my interest for what else might be coming for Maryellen. The crinoline has a special story to it, and at its price, I think we could get some mileage out of it. I would love a round suitcase! Personally, I’m holding out for BF2016!

      Like

      Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      Sounds like a good plan! Brianna has been saving money for a doll, but it could be a tough call with Maryellen, Lea Clark and Beforever 2016. I look forward to seeing her in person.

      Like

      Reply
  2. Message In A Fold

    I don’t know why, but this post made me think of the books I read as a young girl. Nancy Drew Mysteries. The struggle of a young girl who was courageous in her quest to find an answer. That time period, girls were not meant to be adventurous and finding out who they were. Girls of that time were brought up to be good housewives and mothers. Thank you for the brief trip down memory lane. 😀
    Leslie

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      Do you remember the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew TV show? Shaun Cassidy and his satin jacket without a shirt? The groovy 70s for sure!

      Like

      Reply
      1. Sharry A.

        Don’t get me started on Shaun Cassidy! I’ve been blessed to meet him a few times (present day), and I used to have a website! One of the nicest guys ever!

        Like

      2. Jen Post author

        Somehow this comment ended up in a pending file. Sorry about that! That is so neat that you used to have a website. I am glad he is a nice guy. John Stamos seems to be having a renaissance… maybe its time for Shaun!!

        Like

  3. Xyra

    Thank you for this wonderful review. The fact that they included White Christmas (my favorite Christmas movie) is a point in its favor. I love that it inspired you to make a reference board. Maybe in removing the photos they will inspire others to search too. (But I’m with you in thinking they should have kept the illustrations.)

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      Can you believe I have never seen “White Christmas”??! After pinning the pictures, I definitely plan to do so this year. Now that’s a Christmas dress!
      The bummer of no pictures is kids reading alone just breeze right over what they don’t know. Brianna didn’t think to think about what “cold cream” might be.
      I look forward to your thoughts on the book since you enjoy books too!

      Like

      Reply
      1. Xyra

        Sharry, (jaw dropped open…practically on floor) you met Shaun! LOVE him! I think one of the reasons I liked him better than David is he did seem nicer (that could have been Keith vs Joe too LOL).

        Jen, I soooo remember the satin jacket. I tried to do that look too. I got close enough in my mind…the mind of an 8-year old fan girl. 😀 Da Doo Ron Ron!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharry A.

    I really enjoyed the first book. It was a good read, even for a grown-up. It gives a little insight into the things we learned as history as kids of the 70s…cold war…keeping up w/ the Joneses, baby boom. I like MaryEllen as a character, and I hope they’ll be more stories or even a movie!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jen Post author

      I agree! At first I thought she would be too much of a “little kid” character, but she has spunk and maturity through the two books. You do get to know Dad a little better in book two. I liked how V. Tripp showed women’s role changes from WWII to the 50s, and how mom was not “June Cleaver” or Mrs Cunningham as we have been conditioned to think of 50s women.

      Like

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s