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Review: An American Girl Series

Review: An American Girl Series

Are you on the lookout for the proper movie to introduce your youngsters or grandchildren to interval dramas? It may be difficult to discover a film that’s each applicable for younger viewers and enjoyable to observe. On this roundup, we’ll be discussing the “American Woman” collection, which introduces robust younger heroines dwelling by means of key historic moments.

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Under, we offer you an summary of the collection, after which talk about the plots, flag delicate themes, and recommend speaking factors for additional dialogue with your loved ones.


Overview of “An American Woman” Collection

The Inspiration: For a lot of women, the favored American Woman dolls are their first introduction to American historical past. Beginning in 1986, Nice Firm (now a subsidiary of Mattel) provided keepsake-quality dolls and accompanying books about women dwelling via key historic time durations, just like the Revolutionary Conflict, the Progressive Period, and World Struggle II. The corporate has since expanded to modern characters and quite a lot of media tie-ins, together with a collection of historic movies and net specials applicable for teenagers seven and up. All of the movies introduce an interesting historic interval by way of the eyes of an unbiased, relatable younger heroine, making for partaking, household pleasant viewing.

The Women: The feature-length movies give attention to 4 of the corporate’s hottest historic characters: Felicity (1775), Samantha (1904), Package (1934), and Molly (1943). They’re spunky and unbiased women who attempt to remedy injustices of their communities: horse-crazy Felicity tries to rescue a mistreated horse, whereas Samantha befriends orphaned women who’re pressured to work in a manufacturing unit. Nonetheless, they don’t all the time make the suitable selections. Alongside the best way they wrestle to simply accept huge modifications of their lives, as historic occasions shake the steadiness of their households: Molly’s father enlists in World Warfare II, and Felicity should welcome a brand new child into the household. However with the assistance of their associates and understanding adults, the women come to phrases with their new realities, whereas fixing injustices alongside the best way.

The Plotlines: Apart from Package’s story, the movies comply with a yr within the life of every woman, ending with a joyful Christmas celebration. Plot arcs are mild, specializing in introducing the younger viewer to the politics and cultural norms of the interval. At occasions. adults may develop annoyed with the shortage of a robust narrative, however youngsters are positive to narrate to the heroines’ on a regular basis struggles. Package Kittredge, the one movie launched in theaters, has the most effective probability of interesting to each audiences, because it contains a robust central plotline the place Package should remedy a string of mysterious thefts.

The Specials: The Amazon net specials function newer historic characters: Maryellen (1955), Melody (1963), and Ivy and Julie (1976). The women should make robust selections about staying true to themselves and their households, all whereas grappling with cultural milestones of their eras. The movies pack lots into every hour-long episode, utilizing music, clothes, and information to construct a strong historic background and an attractive story. The brief, tightly edited format makes the online episodes stronger than a lot of the feature-length movies, and can depart you eager to see one other. As of this writing, all three films within the collection are included with Prime right here.

The DVDs: Youngsters who need to know extra about historical past will particularly benefit from the DVD editions of the 4 feature-length movies (see hyperlinks beneath every film under), which embrace particular options on subjects like ladies’s suffrage, WWII feminine aviators, and life in colonial Williamsburg. A DVD set that features “Package Kittredge: An American Woman,” “Samantha: An American Woman Vacation,” “Felicity: An American Woman Journey,” and “Molly: An American Woman on the House Entrance,” is on the market, with out the particular options.

The Scores: Whereas a few of the films are rated TV-Y or G, and others aren’t rated by the Movement Image Affiliation, Widespread Sense Media has rated all movies appropriate for teenagers seven and up. There’s no swearing, however the movies do embrace some themes which will upset delicate viewers. These are famous under in particular person critiques.

Film Evaluations of “An American Woman” Collection

Samantha: An American Woman Vacation (2004)

In 1904, rich orphan Samantha Parkington befriends Nellie O’Malley, one of many new servants working for her neighbor in Mt. Bedford, NY. Though her household discourages the friendship, Samantha perseveres, discovering it extra enjoyable to assist Nellie with chores and train her to learn than to follow piano. When Samantha’s beloved Uncle Gard and his fiancée Cornelia invite her to stick with them in New York Metropolis, she shortly dives into the bustle of metropolis life, however she will’t overlook Nellie. Unexpectedly, Nellie’s father dies, and she or he and her sisters are despatched to an orphanage within the metropolis. When Samantha discovers that the women are poorly handled, she decides to take issues into her personal arms, however she could also be taking over greater than she will deal with.

Speaking Factors: Samantha’s story will spark conversations about ladies’s suffrage and Progressive Period reform efforts to enhance manufacturing unit and orphanage circumstances.

Delicate Themes: The lack of mother and father looms giant on this movie. Samantha is an orphan being raised by her loving grandmother (Mia Farrow). Her good friend Nellie loses her father midway by means of the movie, and she or he and her sisters are pressured right into a crowded orphanage. Samantha visits a clothes sweatshop, the place a toddler’s finger is caught in a stitching machine, however there isn’t any visible depiction of the damage.

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Get the guide Samantha: An American Woman

Felicity: An American Woman Journey (2005)

Felicity Merriman, the daughter of a service provider in Williamsburg, VA, chafes towards her dancing classes and needs nothing greater than the liberty she feels driving horses. So when she discovers Penny, a ravishing horse being mistreated by neighbor Jiggy Nye, she will’t assist however sneak out of the home to go to her. Nevertheless it’s 1775, and the brewing problems with the American Revolution aren’t distant. Simply as Felicity tries to free Penny, she should additionally determine the place she stands on freedom from the British.

Speaking Factors: Felicity’s story offers an amazing start line for conversations about revolutionary-era politics because the colonies started to separate from British rule. Observe that black slaves seem as background characters, however slavery isn’t talked about within the movie.

Delicate Themes: Felicity is worried when she hears Jiggy Nye has crushed a horse to dying when he’s drunk. There’s a scene depicting Jiggy Nye being dragged behind a horse after trying to beat her, however he isn’t injured. Felicity’s beloved grandfather dies, and her mom falls unwell after giving start, although she recovers by the top of the movie.

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Get the e-book Felicity: An American Woman

Molly: An American Woman on the House Entrance (2006)

World Conflict II is just a distant thought for Molly McIntire, who needs nothing greater than to take the lead in her faculty’s USO-themed faucet dance efficiency. However massive modifications in her life convey the struggle a lot nearer to house. Her father decides to hitch the Military Medical Corps to assist wounded troopers, forcing her mom to take a job to earn cash for the household. And Molly has to share her bed room with Emily Bennett, an English refugee escaping the London bombings. Molly struggles to make sense of all these modifications, however by means of all of it her pluck and willpower assist her keep robust.

Speaking Factors: Molly’s story will spark conversations concerning the influence of struggle on on a regular basis life, together with rationing, scrap metallic drives, and new job alternatives for ladies. 

Delicate Themes: The wartime setting signifies that demise is ever-present. The McIntires’ neighbor loses her son, a pal’s older brother dies, and, most notably, Molly’s beloved instructor Miss Campbell learns of her fiancé’s dying in a dramatic trend. Molly’s father is listed as lacking for the final half of the film, however he does return residence on the finish. Refugee Emily describes the London bombings, and she or he nonetheless has nightmares of her mom dying and her condo collapsing.

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Get the guide Molly: An American Woman

Package Kittredge: An American Woman (2008)

Stubbornly unbiased Package Kittredge thinks her household’s managed to outlive the Nice Melancholy, till she discovers her father standing in line totally free meals at an area soup kitchen. He’s misplaced his job, and he should journey to Chicago to seek out work. In the meantime, Package’s mom takes in an intriguing assortment of boarders in order that they gained’t lose their home. However the boarders’ cash and valuables start to go lacking, and all fingers level to Will, a teenage hobo Package’s befriended. She’s decided to clear his identify and make her personal identify as a budding newspaper reporter within the course of, so she units out to find the reality behind the thefts.

Speaking Factors: Package’s story is a superb beginning place for conversations concerning the financial results of the Nice Melancholy and the New Deal.

Delicate Themes: The Melancholy hits Package and her neighbors arduous. Package’s father should depart to seek out work, and her pal Sterling reveals that his father deserted them when he couldn’t longer maintain a job, making Package fear that her personal father gained’t return. Her neighbors are evicted from their residence. There’s no menace of violence when Package and her buddies confront the thieves on the finish of the movie, however there’s some delicate peril.

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Get the ebook Package: An American Woman

An American Woman Story – Melody 1963: Love Has to Win (2016)

Artistic, outspoken Melody Ellison thinks the civil rights motion is simply wanted within the deep south: she attends an built-in faculty in Detroit, and Motown singers dominate the airwaves. However she quickly faces subtler types of discrimination, when she’s accused of stealing from a division retailer and a white classmate bullies her for the colour of her pores and skin. The 16th Road Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham forces her to query her security and her personal place locally, and she or he should determine how far she’s prepared to go to face up for her rights.

Speaking Factors: Melody’s story is a strong start line for conversations concerning the civil rights motion and racism, each previous and current. “Melody 1963: Love Has to Win” additionally features a bonus Amazon particular highlighting the civil rights motion.

Delicate themes: Melody lives together with her mom and grandfather, as her army father handed away when she was younger. Her grandfather doesn’t draw back from sharing information of civil rights protests, and the household discusses police attacking peaceable marchers. The Birmingham church bombing, through which 4 women have been killed, performs an important position in Melody’s story. Characters talk about it at size, and Melody watches TV footage that options medics carrying a stretcher.

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Get the e-book Melody: An American Woman

An American Woman Story – Maryellen 1955: Extraordinary Christmas (2016)

Formidable, inventive Maryellen Larkin is determined to face out in her huge household, however her concepts don’t all the time work out the best way she hopes. Then household pal Benji comes to remain over the Christmas holidays. Benji, a polio survivor, should stroll with a leg brace, and he’s hoping a brand new operation on the close by hospital will enhance his legs. Maryellen, who had polio herself, sympathizes with Benji and decides to stage a Christmas expertise present for all the youngsters in his hospital ward. However the strict docs gained’t permit a celebration, and Maryellen’s family and friends accuse her of wanting to point out off quite than do one thing good for the sufferers. Maryellen should work out how one can make an influence by considering of others slightly than herself.

Speaking Factors: Marryellen’s story will provoke good conversations about polio, vaccines, and ladies’s roles throughout and after World Struggle II.

Delicate themes: A number of characters name polio victims “cripples,” a time period that’s instantly criticized by Maryellen and her household. There are a number of scenes of youngsters sporting leg braces and present process bodily remedy on the hospital. Benji solely lives together with his mom, as his father was killed within the Korean Warfare. Maryellen’s oldest sister, Joan, talks of getting engaged straight out of highschool.

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Get the e-book Maryellen: An American Woman

An American Woman Story- Ivy and Julie 1976: A Comfortable Stability (2017)

Rising up in San Francisco, Ivy Ling is struggling to discover a stability between the expectations of her tight-knit immigrant household and her personal wishes to be a traditional American child, like her greatest good friend Julie Albright. She has to spend her Saturdays at Chinese language faculty, as an alternative of hanging out with Julie or training for the upcoming event together with her gymnastics workforce. And when Ivy realizes the large event is identical night time as her household’s Chinese language New Yr dinner, she’s pressured to determine between her personal ambitions and her obligation to her household.

Speaking Factors: Ivy’s story thoughtfully depicts the cultural and linguistic tensions between first- and second-generation immigrants. It’s an excellent start line for conversations about assimilation, Chinese language immigration to California, and the Chinese language Cultural Revolution.

Delicate themes: Ivy feels disconnected from American tradition when she realizes nobody in her favourite teen magazines seems to be like her. Julie’s mother and father have just lately divorced, and she or he and her sister are struggling to determine their loyalties to every mother or father.

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Abby Murphy writes younger grownup books about women discovering their strengths. A member of SCBWI and The Historic Novel Society, she is represented by Laura Crockett of Triada US Literary Company. You possibly can go to her weblog right here, the place she writes about studying, writing, historical past, and her incurable Anglophilia. 

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