Using Dolls at Gender Reveal parties


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A few years ago I got a call from a grandfather-to-be who wanted to buy a Black Raggedy Ann doll and a Black Raggedy Andy doll, but wanted to know if he could return one or the other.             At … Continue reading

My Most Surreal Doll Book Review

Little Mommy Book Cover

Little Mommy by Sharon Kane Book Cover

Would I give this book to a little girl?



Because it is so out of date and out of fashion in its depiction of’ Mommy Play’ and ‘Doll Play,’ that it just might give little girls in the 21st century some good, original creative play ideas. (Please read that as sarcasm.)

In other words, I am damning this with faint praise.

It’s hard for me to believe that this book was acceptable even in 1967… as to how it could still be in print… I really don’t know. A Little Golden Books® Classic? OMG is this awful! Every cliche from before the woman’s movement is listed as a positive example of being a ‘Little Mommy’ (to her dolls) in this book.

I don’t mind that this book was written. The illustrations are quite charming. But who the heck would give it to a child today?  Its an insult to feminists everywhere!

if you also collect books with dolls as the theme or as characters it’s a must have. Otherwise… please don’t!

The Clark Doll Test – When Black Dolls were the Ugly Dolls

A Black doll and a White doll

A Black doll and a White doll

I am continuously fascinated by the famous Clark Doll Test from the forties, and all of the successors since who use similar tests to determine the “state of Racial Relations” in the U.S.

And there is a phrase that I like, written by Mark Twain but referenced by him to Benjamin Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies… lies, damned lies and statistics.”

Whenever I see another of these ‘Doll Tests,’ where children of different races are shown dolls of different races and led by the interviewers to pick ‘the good doll,’ and ‘the bad doll,’ and ‘the pretty doll’ and ‘the ugly doll,’ that phrase always comes to mind.

Children are easily led, and ‘eager to please’ their elders. And when I hear the questions these ‘researchers’ ask, I always feel that these children are being led. Like the classic “have you stopped beating your wife?” question, there are no right answers. Yes (I have stopped beating her) or no (I haven’t stopped beating her) – both make you a wife beater.

If you ask a child “which doll is ugly?” they will have to pick one won’t they? Even if none of the dolls are ugly to that child.

And why this bothers me is for obvious reasons: my store, The Pattycake Doll Company, is currently the largest online doll store dedicated to dolls for children of color in America. We don’t sell ‘ugly dolls,’ or bad dolls,’ but we do sell thousands and thousands of dolls of color.

I admit it: I take tremendous pride in The Pattycake Doll company’s success. We have been selling beautiful Black and Asian and Hispanic and Biracial and all the other Ethnic dolls for over a decade. We have never, ever received one of our Ethnic dolls back because it was ‘ugly.’

So in summary, I would request all those with an interest in race relations to stop showing little kids in America dolls of color and asking them to pick the ugly or bad doll. Enough already.

American Girl Makes It Harder

18" American Girl Doll Clones

Portraits of the current 18″ Dolls of Color Selection from The Pattycake Doll Company

Many years ago The Pattycake Doll Company got a call from a mother looking for “Black American Girl’ type dolls. (We specialized in dolls of color at that time too, but mostly for babies and toddlers. American Girl® dolls start at age 8)

And although we carried a Madame Alexander Black American Girl clone ( at less than 1/2 the price no less and safe for ages 3 and up,) we simply asked why she didn’t buy the American Girl Addy doll, it was so beautiful?

Well the answer shocked us: “I don’t want to buy a slave girl doll for my daughter.” One of my favorite expressions is: ‘You don’t learn a heck of a lot from the second kick from a mule.” I sensed a business opportunity, and today The Pattycake Doll Company is the largest seller of ethnic 18″ dolls of color.

So we found it interesting today to read that American Girl is retiring (read that as cutting the number of 18 inch dolls of color available) while they revamp their historical line-up: Post by American Girl. Their Asian 18 inch doll is American Girl’s Ivy Ling, and Cecile Rey is a Black American Girl Doll.

I, like everybody else, will be interested to see what dolls they come out with to replace American Girl® Ivy Ling and American Girl® Cecile Rey.