This week, the first full week of the new year, we had one thing on the agenda. We had to visit the American Girl Store in Dallas and meet American Girl of the Year 2016, Lea Clark.
While American Girl dolls vary from historical dolls (like Kit and Samantha) to Truly Me dolls (which can be bought to resemble your own girl), we have made a place in our home for a very special type of doll – the American Girl of the Year dolls. These are dolls which are introduced the first of the year and only are sold that year.
A certain 8-year old I know received her very first American Girl doll, the American Girl of the Year 2014, Isabelle, from Santa 2 years ago. This past Christmas, Mommy & Daddy surprised her with yet another, the American Girl of the Year 2015, Grace Thomas. She’s received these dolls at the very “END” of a year and is quite surprised because of it. (I love that part and yes, it’s easier to do this having only one child)
While Grace is such a loved addition to our family right now, she along with her playsets and clothing disappeared from all American Girl stores on December 31st. We knew that there would be a new American Girl of the Year come January 1st and couldn’t wait to hear the news.
With clues being leaked from American Girl, we soon knew my daughter would have a lot in common with this special doll.
American Girl of the Year 2016, Lea Clark
Meet Lea Clark, American Girl of the Year 2016!
Yes – we might be in trouble! I sense a kindrid spirit.
Not only does Lea Clark love to travel and explore, but she LOVES everything about animals. She and my daughter could be best friends. Seen here in this interactive cutout at the American Girl Dallas store, they are just about the same size too! 🙂
A few things about Lea Clark:
- Traveling to Brazil changed her world.
- She loves animals and photographing them.
- Her grandmother taught her to explore and she carries her compass and journal everywhere.
Accessories which can be bought separately include a pretend camera, a braided headband, 4 photos, a wish bracelet, a pretend passport and a mini book.
But if you know American Girl like I do, you know it doesn’t end there……..
For my daughter, everything begins with the books – where the adventures begin. Two books are available featuring Lea right now:
Each chapter book is over 150 pages and this is where we’ll learn about the character of Lea and what her story really is. I sense some themes about family and pushing past fears will be involved and I love that. With American Girl, there are always great issues which can be the starting point of wonderful conversations. That’s especially important for this age group.
As with dolls before her, Lea has amazing playsets available, and there’s always ONE which stands out above the rest. Last year it was most impressive $500 Bakery playset with working kitchen mixer. For 2016, it’s Lea’s Rainforest House.
As always, American Girl pays attention to the details.
The Rainforest House comes with pretend outdoor shower, a hammock, light-up lantern and the most beautiful seashell chimes. A loft bed, table, chair and Brazilian-style grill with a faux fire (which lights up) and other accessories complete this playset! Simply put, this is the coolest rainforest house I could imagine.
While my daughter adored the Rainforest House, she spent more time checking out Lea’s Fruit Stand. She was completely impressed with the details here which included a pretend blender which comes apart! SERIOUSLY!
Other playsets include Lea’s Ocean Kayak Set and even cuddly creatures like the Three-Toes Sloth.
While I expect more outfits to be released in the near future, right now you can grab matching pajamas for girl and doll – Rainforest themed of course.
Spending time at the American Girl Cafe (inside some stores) is an inexpensive way to enjoy the fun of American Girl as I know not everyone has a budget for the large dolls. (TIP: Be on the lookout for the Lea Clark Mini Doll soon)
There are new Bistro items on the menu with Lea’s arrival, including one I’ve got my eyes on, the Paradise Mango Milkshake! I can’t wait to go back and try these out!
With Lea’s exploring theme, American Girl has partnered with World Wildlife Fund to make a difference! For every purchase of Lea’s cuddly creatures (sloth, sea turtle, margay cat), $1 will be donated (with maximum of $100,000).
You can visit American Girl online to shop, look at the newly scheduled store events (some Free) or learn more about Lea.
2015 – See what all the fuss was about last year (oh and you must see the Kitchen Mixer that works) –> American Girl of the Year 2015 – Grace Thomas.
Too young for an American Girl of the Year? My daughter first had an American Girl Bitty Baby – see what we thought!!
What do you think about the theme of this year’s American Girl doll?