American Girl vs. Maplelea

If you have a daughter between the ages of 4 and 24, you’ve probably heard of American Girl dolls. If your little girl isn’t quite old enough, it is only a matter of time before one of these dolls ends up on a wish list for Christmas or an upcoming birthday. If so, you should probably open a savings account because while these dolls are exceptionally well-made, they are also quite pricey and come with an expansive line of equally pricey accessories.

The first time I heard of American Girl, other than the Tom Petty song, was in Peggy Orenstein‘s book, Cinderella Ate My Daughter (a must-read). After reading the book, I soon discovered a Canadian line of very similar, equally high-priced dolls. Enter Maplelea.

I’m not sure who put my daughter onto Maplelea (my wife did) but when I checked out the website and saw the prices, it was a firm no. Too expensive! Apparently my firm no doesn’t apply to Grandmas. Thanks Mom. All jokes aside, the doll is a work of incredible craftsmanship and the accessories are of equal quality. Most importantly, my daughter loves her Maplelea doll.

Upon examining both brands of dolls, it is evident the American Girl line offers far more product than Maplelea. However, the quality and essential accessories are almost identical. The dolls are very similar in appearance and neither line is especially sexist or limiting in its representation of female gender identity. Other than price, I have no philosophical or parental objections to the dolls or the message of the respective brands. I do find they look creepy but my wife and daughter think they’re adorable so creepiness is obviously a subjective criticism.

Both lines of dolls are available in Canada. American Girl currently has more options and accessories that would appeal to the little girl who wants an elaborate collection or for her doll to have it all. However, the Maplelea line is constantly growing. American Girl dolls are laden with American history and culture. Likewise, Maplelea dolls are distinctly Canadian. Both brands offer dolls of varying ethnicity from various regions of their respective countries.

In the end this dad will say, if your daughter asks you to buy her either of these dolls, tell her to talk to her Grandma.

Maplelea Dolls

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The Beginning
About James Hudyma

Dad. Husband. Teacher. Canadian. Guitar Picker. Songwriter.

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