A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the American Girl brand extends far and wide -- beyond dolls and books into clothing, fragrance, and more. Much of the merch sold on the site is quite expensive, and some of it feeds into beauty industry hype, junior division. If parents ignore the store and skip to the activities, they'll find games and puzzles that are lively and educational, with kid-safe images and messages.
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What's it about?
Each historical character and contemporary "Girl of the Year" has her own page, complete with wallpaper, book excerpts, and more. "A Doll's Journey" takes users around the world, from Hawaii to Singapore, offering e-cards and fun facts about each location. Critter lovers will enjoy a special section dedicated to Coconut (arf!) and Licorice (mrow!). Some games are simple and require little reading, like "Snowboard Betty," in which users collect stars and avoid tree stumps as they zigzag down a mountain. Others, like "The Mystery of the True Heart," have complex instructions and involve critical thinking. An intricate musical score adds to the depth of detail in these games.
Is it any good?
American Girl encourages girls "to stand tall, reach high, and dream big." Not to mention "shop hard" -- four of the five main sections of AMERICANGIRL.COM are dedicated to pushing product. Fortunately, the "Fun for Girls" section -- a collection of beautifully illustrated games, puzzles, and other interactive features -- saves the site from being an endless marketing loop.
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