Last week I introduced you to The Pea's new American Girl doll, Cecile. This week, meet her "partner in crime", Marie-Grace Gardner.
Marie-Grace Gardner has just arrived in New Orleans, and she hopes she never has to move again. The lively city is unlike any other place Marie-Grace has lived. When she meets Mademoiselle Océane, a talented opera singer, Marie-Grace longs to take lessons. She loves to sing, and she would like to get to know Cécile Rey, the confident girl who is Mademoiselle's student. But Marie-Grace is shy, and starting school reminds her how hard it is to make friends and fit in. Can an unexpected adventure help her feel as if she belongs in New Orleans? Includes an illustrated "Looking Back" essay about the history of New Orleans. Author: Sarah Masters Buckey. Paperback. 120 pages.
First in a series of six books filled with inspiring lessons of compassion, courage, and friendship. Marie-Grace's and Cécile's stories, which are woven together in one six-book series and written by two different authors, include Meet Marie-Grace, Meet Cécile, Marie-Grace and the Orphans, Troubles for Cécile, Marie-Grace Makes a Difference, and Cécile's Gift.
Cecile and Marie-Grace are unique among American Girl dolls because they share a book series, unlike the other American Girl dolls who each star in their own book series and sometimes have a best friend with a book or two of her own. I like having them share the series, because to me it reinforces one of the series' underlying themes of equality amid diversity of culture, color and class.
I really like Marie-Grace's character: she's shy and quiet, yet independent and caring. Her story and Cecile's story are a great inspiration and example for The Pea and other real-life American Girls!
Here are some close-up photos of the Marie-Grace doll:
Last week I blogged that I preferred the Cecile doll's face to Cecile's face in the books; with Marie-Grace, the opposite is true. Maybe it's because of her hairstyle. I don't think this hairstyle flatters Marie-Grace (or any girl) at all. The front is slicked down way too tightly, of the curls on the side of her head that hang down like sideburns on a mullet. I'm hoping The Pea changes Marie-Grace's hairstyle, because she really does have a small, sweet face.
I do, however, really like the way her hair is half-braided, with the two braids tied together at the back. And I like her long, thick hair.
Her pantalettes are also really pretty, with their triangular, rick-rack trim, and her two-tone boots remind me of Mary Poppins.
Marie-Grace's dress wears a serviceable pink plaid cotton frock, much less luxurious than Cecile's dress, which is consistent with the girls' economic situations in the story. There are slight differences between the doll dress and the dress in the book illustrations. In the book, Marie-Grace appears to be wearing some kind of ruched pink vest (or gathered pink trim), while the Marie-Grace doll has a flat pink trim running down both sides of her dress, with white lace detailing. I love the flowing pink ribbons on Marie-Grace's hat, but it doesn't come with the doll (you need to purchase Marie Grace's accessories to get the hat).
Disclosure: American Girl sent me a Cecile and Marie-Grace doll. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.