WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Meet Samantha (American Girl Series) by Susan Addler
Type: Children’s, Historical Fiction
Basic Idea: Samantha Parkington lives the ideal 1904 life as a rich ladies only granddaughter. She soon learns not everyone is as fortunate as her though…
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The first book in the series surrounding Samantha Parkington lays the groundwork for the later, better developed books. It presents the main characters of the series while giving key insights to their personality, and at the same time presents two compelling plots, that don’t intertwine, but do both take the protagonist in a direction of learning about others and growing as a person.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style is simple and direct, with all the right details in all the right places. The pace is fast moving, yet leaves time to give the details, which is good for any book.
Moral: 2/5 Good and Bad Morals: Meet Samantha has a mix of good and bad morals. Samantha herself is an arguably good child’s protagonist, with a caring heart and respectful attitude, while she still admittedly has childish and selfish motives at times. Throughout the book, she befriends a poor girl outside of her social class and at the end of the book gives away a doll she worked very hard for. This is a positive lesson for children on being kind to everyone, regardless of social status or riches, and to be giving. The other moral though could definitely be taken wrongly. Samantha is not told what happened to a servant lady, so she and said friend sneak out at night to find the servant lady. Though they do not disobey any direct command, Samantha does act self-righteous for doing what she did and talks back a bit to her grandmother. This, in a way, shows children to be stubborn with their elders and to make it look like children know or should know just as much as adults always do, which is not exactly true.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Meet Samantha is an introduction to a long series about a little girl and her adventures and growth. It introduces the characters and themes of that will appear in the later books well. I do think Samantha does ever so slightly cross the lines of being determined to being just a bit rebellious, though. I would recommend the book to children that can clearly understand this and with parental guidance be able to appreciate it without taking up some of the negative attitudes. I think that girls six and older would enjoy it best.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: 0/5 None
Violence: ½/5 Brief, Light Violence: A girl is mentioned to have shoved gum in a boy’s hair. A girl accidentally kicks her friend when she falls.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: 0/5 None
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 1/5 Brief, Light Mention: A girl wants to punch a boy, but doesn’t. A girl’s knee bleeds because she fell out of a tree. It is mentioned that a man and a woman died in a boat accident. It mentions that a woman has headaches. A girl worries her friend will get sick. A girl briefly cries. “Been hit” is used for descriptive purposes.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Possible Offense: Samantha threatens to put a boy’s beetle collection in the church offering plate and lie about who put it in, but doesn’t do it.
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes.
Others: It mentions that men and women dance.
Overall: ½/5 All Ages Appropriate: There is nothing in the book that I personally believe would cause any serious concerns. With cautions about the moral, I would recommend it to children eight and older.
Here is the review to the sequel, Samantha Learns a Lesson https://christianentertainmentreviews.blog/2018/10/22/a-parents-guide-to-samantha-learns-a-lesson-book/