It's a battle royale of the ice skating dolls this season! In one corner is Mia St. Clair, the 2007 American Girl Place Doll of the Year. Mia starts at $90 and additional clothing, accessories and books can be purchased for an astronomical amount. Parents everywhere will reminisce about their childhood when they had one doll (sometimes without hair because they brushed it to oblivion), one outfit, and Colorforms.
At the other corner is Target's response -- Our Generation Katelyn Figure Skater Doll (see below right). At $40, Katelyn comes with two outfits and accessories, including medals, a water bottle, flowers and a headband. (Just as an aside, I would have loved it if Target had named their doll Leah or Gia or something close to Mia.)
Here are the differences and similarities:
- $50 difference
- According to the American Girl Dolls website, "Mia has long red hair, green eyes, and pretty freckles." From what I could tell from the Target site, Katelyn is very blond, I think also has green eyes, and has no freckles.
- Mia's skates are purple. Katelyn's skates are white. Oh, by the way, you have to pay $14 for Mia's skates. They don't come with the doll.
- From reading users' reviews, Katelyn's hair is apparently difficult to brush, so it's best to keep it up in a ponytail or bun. But that seems perfectly fine -- skaters generally have their hair up all the time. I'm not certain about Mia's hair, but fear not! You can send the Mia doll to the American Girl Place hair salon and they'll fix her hair while you watch or wander around the store to purchase more stuff. There's also an in-house hospital to fix Mia up in case she becomes injured while changing outfits.
- Katelyn looks more like a Natalie to me. I'm just kidding. According to the New Parent's Guide's most popular girls' names of 2007, Katelyn was ranked #75 and Mia was ranked #15. The #1 name? Emily. I had a funny vision of the marketing departments at each corporate headquarters trying out different names to various focus groups to determine which was "it."
- Here's a similarity -- Both dolls are 18 inches tall. I have a idea: Purchase Katelyn, let your child play with the doll for a while, and when they wish to supplement with accessories, buy a few from American Girl Place! This way, they're not stuck on the "I can only have American Girl dolls and American Girl accessories" mentality. I think this will also teach them to mix and match, which is a very important lesson for later in life. Don't we pair up high end/low end all the time when we dress now? But let's be real -- there's something about American Girl dolls that grabs hold of you so try and resist if you're on a tight budget. If you're not, I'll spot you carrying the huge red and white bags around town and know that you've become part of the cult.