Read Kirsten's Story Collection - Limited Edition by Janet Beeler Shaw Free Online
Book Title: Kirsten's Story Collection - Limited Edition|
The author of the book: Janet Beeler Shaw
Edition: Amer Girl
Date of issue: September 1st 2004
Loaded: 1725 times
Reader ratings: 4.7
ISBN 13: 9781584854432
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 369 KB
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I haven't read these books since I was a kid. I think I was ten when I got my Kirsten doll for Christmas. At the time, I was really into the 'Little House on the Prairie' books and I was really excited to get my doll.
Unfortunately, I actually had to return my doll soon after getting her when her eyelashes began to fall out. But I soon got a replacement and she became one of my fondest childhood toys. My sister and I would play with our dolls for hours (she had Samantha) making up new stories and adventures for them. I can't remember when I got the boxed set of all her books. It might have been that Christmas, but I think it was a bit later.
Which didn't matter much, since I'd already devoured all the American Girl books that I could find at the school library. I can even remember where they were. As you came in the door you would turn right and go around the circular computer desk. Behind the bulky Macintosh computers, on the bottom shelf - where you had to wedge yourself past the computer chairs - were the American Girl books.
Not too long ago, I picked up my books from Mom's house. I've been feeling rather nostalgic for my childhood favorites (unfortunately, I also recently found out that my huge collection of Nancy Drews are long gone). Along with the box set of Kirsten's books, I also have Felicity's box set.
Rereading these books was quite a trip. They're written in very simple language, as you'd expect for books marketed to ten-year-olds. The books themselves are slim - around 60 pages each - and focus on six focal events in the main American Girl's life: the introduction, school, Christmas, tenth birthday, an act of heroism, and the final moving forward book. In the case of Kirsten, we follow her as her family immigrates from Sweden to Minnesota and they work to build a new life.
The thing that surprised me most in rereading Kirsten's stories was the sheer amount of terrible things that happen to Kirsten. Honestly, they're kind of horrible. In the first book, Kirsten's best friend Marta - whose family immigrates from Sweden with hers - dies of cholera...after they reach America. It's really quite tragic and heartbreaking. As the books move on, Kirsten befriends a Native American girl, Singing Bird, only to have her move West; Kirsten's mother almost dies in childbirth; a tornado sweeps through the farm; Kirsten and her little brother are attacked by a black bear; Kirsten and her father almost perish in a winter blizzard; their cabin burns down; and Kirsten and her older brother come across a dead man in the woods.
I can't believe how many bad things happen to this poor girl! I don't remember such bad luck befalling any other American Girl. To top things off, Kirsten's at the root of half the terrible things that happen to her family. She foolishly puts her little brother and herself in danger when they get attacked by the bear and it's her fault that the family cabin burns down.
Yet, in the end, it's hard work, perseverance, and a good amount of luck that gets her family through their first year in America. And, much as I did so many years ago, I ate the books up. However simply written, however frustratingly foolish Kirsten can be, I still enjoyed reading the books. I felt transported back to my childhood: reading curled up in bed or on the bus to and from school. Playing with Kirsten and Samantha dolls (and later our two Felicities) around the farm.
It was a happy childhood, caught up in the world of our imaginations, and in rereading these books, it was like being ten again. Really, I can't ask more than that from a handful of paperback books.
*Note: I have the dark burgundy boxed set with the classic white paperback covers.
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