I’ve been collecting play dolls since 2006, but for seven-and-a-half of the last eight years I stuck exclusively to American Girl. It’s hard to say why, now. I guess we tend to like what we’re familiar with, and I was convinced that American Girl dolls were the prettiest, cutest, and just all around “best” play dolls there were. Whenever I saw pictures of other brands of dolls I just couldn’t see the appeal or charm. But finally last year I began to get a little, well, bored. It wasn’t until just a few months ago, however, when I was given my first ever non-American Girl doll (A Girl For All Time Matilda) that I finally cracked open the door to the universe of play dolls beyond. Now exploring the diversity of alternatives to American Girl has become my newest passion in collecting. I still love my American Girl dolls, but I now feel like I’m loving them in a much larger context. I’m gradually reducing my collection of American Girl dolls, and my new goal is to gather a group of dolls that I love to play with and that reflect both who I am and the variety of dolls that are available. I am especially interested in contrasting American Girl dolls with similar brands, which I hope to share on A Doll’s Picnic as time permits.
I’ve compiled a master list of the major doll brands for my own information, and thought I’d share it here. My criteria for this list are: 1) the doll is intended for play, 2) the doll is at least 16 inches tall, 3) the doll is a quality toy made to last. Just when I think I am aware of all the brands offering dolls that fit this criteria, I discover a new company! I had no idea there were so many!
Here is my list so far. The asterisks denote the brands included in my own collection. If you know of a brand that isn’t on my list, please comment below, and I’ll look them up!
Brands of Play Dolls
A Girl For All Time, by Daughters of History *
American Girl *
Bonnie & Pearl *
Classic Kidz, by Gotz
Favorite Friends, by Madame Alexander
Happy Kidz, by Gotz *
Hannah, by Gotz *
Karito Kids (no longer in production), by Kids Give *
Kidz ‘n Cats, by Heart and Soul *
Las Reinas, by Paola Reina *
Magic Attic Club (no longer in production)
Maru and Friends *
My Twinn *
Pen Pal Girls
Precious Day, by Gotz
Sisterhood in Town
Soy Tu, by Paola Reina
Vanange, by Vannuzza