Tag Archives: Maryellen

Meet Maryellen

Maryellen LarkinHi everyone! It’s Brianna, and for Christmas I got Maryellen Larkin the new 1950’s doll. Here is her profile. Enjoy the post!

Name: Maryellen Larkin

Nickname: Ellie

Age: 10

Birthday: May 7th, 2005

Description: Strawberry Blonde Hair, Hazel Eyes, and White Skin.

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Personality: Energetic, Leader, Fun-Loving, Spunky, Clever, and In Control.

Interests: Running, Roller Skating, Swimming, and Movie Stars like Debbie Reynolds and Rosemary Clooney

Maryellen Jukebox

Rosemary Clooney is one of the best singers of 1954!

Favorite Food: Tuna Casserole, Split Pea Soup, Cole Slaw, Lime Chiffon Pie, German Cherry Cakes, Soda Pop, and Baked Alaska.

Least Favorite Food: TV Dinners, Garlic Olives, Shrimp Puffs, and Pumpernickel Squares

Dream Job: Professional Runner

Favorite Colors: Pink and Mint Green

Favorite Animal: Starfish or Lizards

Jukebox is from Lowe’s courtesy of Grandma.  It plays songs like “Louie, Louie” that are a little more rockin’ than Rosemary Clooney.  In fact, this jukebox could work for Melody too.  Maryellen was a BIG SURPRISE and she wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the 20% off sale AG ran.  – Jen

 

 

Meeting Maryellen – A Guest Post

At the Madison Children’s Museum sale in July we were fortunate to meet new friends while waiting in line.  Maggie and her family drove from another state to attend the sale, and they were first-timers like us.  Brianna was forever corrupted when she learned our new friend had 23 American Girl dolls (and Brianna’s keeping track every time you add one, Maggie)!  True doll lovers, we did not ask, “What do you do with so many dolls?”  We asked, “How do you store them?”  (Shelves!)

I asked Maggie whether she might like to give us her opinion on the Maryellen collection and its presentation at the Mall of America location.  Photos are hers.  Take it away Maggie!

Maryellen 1954Friday through Sunday was Maryellen’s opening weekend. All the staff at the Mall of America store were dressed in 50’s inspired clothing which was a fun touch. There were numerous display cases of Maryellen and her fabulous accessories and the attention to detail was incredible. Starting with Maryellen herself, I believe she has a unique hair and eye color combo – her eye color is a variant of AG’s hazel eyes and her hair is light ginger, unlike any of their other red-headed dolls. Her meet outfit is adorable, with a little “M” embroidered on her cardigan and a sweet pearl choker and bracelet with a little matching handbag. It is spot on for the 50’s!

Maryellen 2015

There are multiple other outfits for all sorts of occasions, each one amazingly styled. The first one we saw was her embroidered black poodle skirt, with a peach top, saddle shoes, and matching hair scarf. You can buy a light pink crinoline separately, which makes the skirt flare out. It is so cute!

Poodle Skirt

The crinoline can also go under any one of her other dresses, like her stunning turquoise birthday dress or purple gingham-checked school dress. For play time, Maryellen has denim pedal pushers and a sleeveless white blouse with cherry embroidery. The shoes for this outfit even have little cherries on them! On chilly winter days, Maryellen can go ice skating in a charming red felt dress (coat?) with snowflake embroidery, tights, and sky-blue ice skates. Accessories for this are sold separately – hat, scarf and mittens. This outfit too, was adorable.

Maryellen CollectionFinally, Maryellen has pj’s made out of dotted Swiss fabric with a little floral print. Separately there is a hairstyling set with a little cap and real working hair curlers! Fun!

Maryellen PJs

My favorite furniture item is her incredibly detailed “Seaside Diner.” I’m not sure where I would put it but I bet I could make room somewhere! It is amazing, with a very high play factor. There is a counter where Maryellen can work, flipping burgers, hot dogs, or a breakfast platter on the grill.

Maryellen working the grill

Maryellen working the grill

There are two stools and a booth made out of real vinyl – electric blue with pink piping. The tabletop was sparkly formica, just like you’d find in a 50’s diner. There were menus, little ticket orders, a real bell to ring for orders, even a little paper hat for her to wear. I really need this diner in my life!

Seaside Diner My mom loved the living room set, which has many authentic details. There is a sofabed, a crocheted afghan, and pillows. Additional items that can be purchased are a funky cool table with a retro lamp, pink poodle figurine, a newspaper and TV Guide.

Maryellen ScooterEvery historical doll has to have a pet, and Maryellen has a dachshund named Scooter, who loves to snuggle with her on the sofa. Finally, Maryellen has a school set, with flashcards, a little chalkboard, a pointer (not a laser pointer, but the old fashioned wooden kind!), and map with the United States on one side and Europe on the other. It is historically accurate for the time period, of course!

Map circa Soviet Era

Map circa Soviet Era

Maryellen’s TV console was sold out already so I couldn’t see that. But her juke box was there and it was amazing. One of the clerks showed me how it works – it plays five different 50’s inspired songs by pushing the little buttons, and you can plug your ipod into the back to play your own music using the juke box speaker. Also when the juke box was playing, the surrounding lights lit up. The jukebox was $90, which is a little steep but the sound quality was pretty good and it would be a fun way to play your own music. If you are really interested in it, I’d say it is worth the money.

After seeing Maryellen’s whole collection in the store, I thought it was even cuter in person. I left there wanting to take it all home with me. On a sad note, Maryellen’s collection replaced the spot where Caroline and her collection used to be. There was only one case left for Caroline, with six dolls and her three books. Everything else was sold out, and she looked so lonely standing in an empty glass box. I’m sad to see Caroline go, but think Maryellen is a great new addition to the Be Forever line-up.

Caroline Retirement American Girl

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.

 

 

 

Casting Call for Julie and Maryellen!

MIDDLETON, Wis., Aug. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — American Girl is enlisting the help of girls and the creative crowdsourcing platform Tongal to bring its inspiring BeForever historical characters to life in a whole new way. From August 14 to August 24, girls, ages 8 to 14, are invited to participate in a nationwide casting call to star in a short film about fan-favorite Julie Albright from the 1970s—or one about American Girl’s newest historical character from the 1950s, Maryellen Larkin, set to debut on August 27, 2015.

To participate in the casting call, girls and their parents can visit tongal.com/AmericanGirl2015 to register and submit audition videos. Girls can choose to read for either the Maryellen or Julie characters (or both) from the provided scripts, and casting videos should be no longer than three minutes. Girls who best embody the spirit of Maryellen and Julie will move on to a public voting phase, starting August 31, where fans can vote online for their favorite video finalists. The two winning girls will each receive a cash prize of $10,000, as well as a trip to film the movie. The 15-minute short films are being developed – from screenplays to casting to production – by the Tongal creative community and shown on American Girl’s social channels and website. For more information and official rules, visit tongal.com/AmericanGirl2015.

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Julie short movie!!!!  Woo-hoo!  I think I’m too old to audition ;(

American Girl Julie

Maryellen Book Previews

You can now preview the first chapters of the Maryellen books on Amazon!  I won’t give away any story lines in case you are waiting for the complete books, but I will say that a number of the 50s themes that Brianna and I speculated about in ‘Waiting for Mary Ellen’ are part of her story. Some small details:

  • She goes by ‘Ellie’
  • Her aged dachshund is named Scooter
  • She has a big family, not unlike both of Brianna’s Grandmothers
  • Daytona Beach
  • I Love Lucy, TV, Cowboy shows
  • An Airstream camper

I am not sure we have room for Maryellen the doll to move in, but Scooter…. I think I already love his ‘character.’  Any guesses if we will see an Airstream from AG for ‘Ellie”?  They haven’t unloaded all of Julie’s VWs yet at the various outlet sales!

If you want to get primed for Maryellen, I want to recommend a book “Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio” which is appropriate for age 9 and up.  It should be readily available at your library and it is completely gripping for all ages!

Waiting for ‘Mary Ellen’

Retro-Cooking-Mom-thm-GraphicsFairy-150x150Rumors are circulating that the new American Girl historical doll in 2015 might be ‘Mary Ellen’ — potentially a 1950s era girl.  For the back-story on this speculation, see Living a Doll’s Life.

My impatient, curious personality wants to know what elements her story might possibly contain, so I thought it might be fun to revisit 1950s history and culture.

Social Conflict

  • Nuclear bomb ends WWII at the end of the ’40s and oops, the Soviet Union has nuclear weapons too.
  • Senator McCarthy creates fear of Communists living among Americans.
  • United States enters Korean War
  • Fear of nuclear war has Americans building bomb shelters and school children practice “duck and cover” drills (note: in event of nuclear bomb, duck and cover irrelevant)
  • Cold War begins
  • Brown vs Board of Education says segregated schools are unconstitutional
  • Polio epidemic affects American children; vaccine introduced at end of 1950s.  (The book “Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio” is a wonderful read with your kids grade 3 and up).
  • Communism close to home – Fidel Castro in Cuba
  • Rosa Parks, Montgomery Bus Boycott, MLK Jr

Culture

  • Rock n roll, Elvis, American Bandstand
  • The hula hoop is invented
  • Car culture… big, fancy, colorful cars (look out Julie with the little VW!)  Drive in restaurants and movies
  • “I Like Ike” – Dwight Eisenhower, a popular president who didn’t ruffle a lot of feathers
  • Saddle shoes and poodle skirts
  • Television in homes more common “The Golden Age of Television” – I Love Lucy, Cowboy shows, Walt Disney programs
  • Passenger air travel more available, but only for the wealthy
  • Suburbs are created for all the baby boomers being born, housing boom

Jen speculates:  The Cold War and nuclear fallout shelters are too heavy duty for AG.  How about a girl who experiences integration in her school and we get two dolls, Mary Ellen and an African-American friend!  AG has a family building a new house in the suburbs and Dad is a WWII veteran and now working as a PanAm pilot (or did we already check that box with Saige…?)

Brianna thinks: I think that Mary Ellen might have two friends [like Chrissa.] One of them would be African – American and the other could be a victim of Polio. Like my mom, I think Mary Ellen’s dad could possibly be a WWll veteran, or if Mary Ellen had an older brother, her older brother could possibly get drafted.

What do you think?  What would be your ideal 1950s American Girl storyline?