There are some things that capture the imagination of little girls. Dolls, and particularly well-made and well-dressed dolls, are definitely near the top of that list. Princesses, queens, and big flowing dresses: even for a tomboy like my 7-year-old, that just adds to the magic.
We were honored to have the opportunity to play with Matilda, Your Tudor Girl, an exquisite doll from A Girl for all Time. Not only is the doll itself incredibly realistically created, but her clothing is detailed and lush. And Matilda has a story. Matilda was a part of Henry VIII's court.
The doll is 16" vinyl, with fully moveable joints; most of them. Katrina wanted to be sure that I pointed out that, "Matilda cannot lift her head up to look straight at the ceiling without ME having to really TRULY strain to hold her in place." When I asked why a Tudor lady would want to be staring at the ceiling anyway, my daughter had no idea. "I like to look up, so I think Matilda wants to as well," was what she finally came up with.
My 9-year old son was impressed as well. "She's so detailed, Mom. Fingernails, toenails, just like she is real!" My daughter jumped in to point out, "There are even those lines where your toes bend! Someone put in a whole lot of detail with her."
The clothing is perfect. The grey velvet is soft, with ribbon and pearl accents, and fur-lined sleeves. That makes a sort of "overdress." Peeping out from under the velvet skirt is a satiny plum skirt. Under that, she is wearing "period underwear" which includes a slip, something like bloomers, and a petticoat. The detail is incredible.
She also has a key around her neck. This key is to her secret diary.
Included with the doll were a couple of books. We had the most fun with Matilda's Keepsakes and Secrets. This journal ties shut with a ribbon, and is filled with ideas to learn more about the Tudor times. Instructions on how to plait your hair, discussion about how brides would dress, recipes, family trees (one for Matilda and one for you), photos, and so very much more.
The other book, Matilda's Secret, "was weird." I started reading this out loud to my 7 and 9 year olds, and they were not begging for one more chapter. I think this book would be a good tie-in to the Tudor period for girls a bit older than mine, and I plan to pull Matilda's Secret back out when my daughter is 11 or 12.
In addition to Matilda, A Girl for all Time also has a doll named Amelia, Your Victorian Girl. And brand-new is Clementine, Your 1940s Girl. We are giving very serious thought to purchasing these because the dolls are of such amazing quality. Even if we don't (yet) read the books, we are getting a chance to learn about past times through play.