From Addy to Samantha: The Definitive American Girl Doll Ranking
You begged for a Samantha, read all six of her books and even managed to score her brass twin bed (lucky). Ah, yes: The ’90s American Girl doll craze. Those were the days. But in retrospect, some of the girls were just a lot cooler than others, and we couldn’t help but rank them in order. So proceed with caution (particularly those who had a Caroline growing up).
14. Caroline Abbott
Representing the War of 1812 era…does anyone remember what that one was about?
13. Maryellen Larkin
One of five, this 1950s polio survivor just wants to stand out in a sea of siblings. So yeah, she wants to be an actress.
12. Marie-Grace & Cecile Rey
Released together, this 1850s New Orleans pair always seemed, well, kinda, random? The quick background: The introverted Marie-Grace is basically an orphan whose best friend was a dog until she met Cécile, an extrovert who (also) wants to be an actress and—gasp—doesn’t like Marie-Grace’s best friend dog.
11. Kirsten Larson
She’s the mandatory pioneer girl, but let’s face it: She’s no Laura Ingalls Wilder. Plus, it can’t be safe to wear a candle crown, right?
Oh no. Kaya doesn’t think before she acts, which leads her and her sister to be kidnapped by another tribe. A wee intense for grammar-school reading levels?
9. Rebecca Rubin
Although her family immigrated from Russia to escape Jewish persecution, in America, Beckie’s biggest concerns are lighting the Sabbath candles before her sisters and not getting enough attention leading up to her brother’s bar mitzvah. But hey, she does get some points for working at her dad’s store. Oh, and guess what she wants to be when she grows up? An actress.
8. Molly McIntire
While her dad’s off fighting with the Greatest Generation, Molly’s at home complaining about math, turnips, putting her head under water and how her hair won’t curl. But she’s a great tap dancer, so we kinda forgive her.
7. Josefina Montoya
Gentle, sweet and sensitive, Josefina becomes a healer, like her grandmother. If only the rest of us could find the job we love so we never have to work a day in our lives.
6. Julie Albright
Do we dock points because her favorite food is chocolate fondue? You bet we do. But Julie’s a strong girl who copes with her parents’ divorce in a surprisingly mature way. Oh, and she wants to be the future president of the United States. Right on.
5. Samantha Parkington
She may seem like a silver-spooned write-off, but this orphan raised by her grandma wants to be…the first female president of the United States (too)…or a painter. Whatever she winds up doing, we love her ambition.
4. Felicity Merriman
The Revolutionary War-era girl is pretty revolutionary herself. She speaks her mind, she does what she believes in and doesn’t care about being “ladylike.” But sorry, Felicity, your love for horses makes you one of those weird horse girls.
3. Melody Ellison
As the most recent addition to the plastic girl club, she’s also the first African American doll with a story set in in the 20th century (um, c’mon American Girl). Melody gets high marks not only for her mod-awesome outfit and her Motown connects, but most importantly for her civil rights activism. Her character participates in demonstrations and sit-ins at the height of the civil rights movement in Detroit.
2. Kit Kittredge
Kit rules. She’s a tomboy who wants to be a reporter. She even hangs around the Cincinnati Register newsroom, won an award for her writing and had an article in a newspaper. Yeah, Kit!
1. Addy Walker
To earn the top-top spot, you’ve gotta be a special kind of strong. A nine-year-old Addy escapes slavery with her mother to Philadelphia. Initially separated from the rest of their family, they ultimately reconnect but live in poverty. It’s Addy’s resilience, bravery and kind heart that make her the best American Girl doll of all. And bonus points: She doesn’t want to be an actress.