WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Happy Birthday, Samantha! (American Girl Series) by Valerie Tripp
Type: Children’s, Historical Fiction
Basic Idea: Samantha plans to celebrate her birthday in style with her two new friends, who tend to be a more than a little trouble. What happens when seemingly innocent headstrong behavior turns out to bring bigger problems than anticipated though?
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The plot does a good job of staying true to one central theme while taking us through different places. It isn’t as story driven as the last one as it is on maintaining this central theme, though the story it takes you on to tell it is good.
Writing Style and Setup: 4/5 Well Done: The writing style describes things differently than the earlier books. It focuses on conversations and actions to describe things. The pacing also feels different, as it seems like more happens over a longer span of time rather than a little over a relatively short time.
Moral: 2½/5 Good Moral, Some Negative Influences: The moral overall is that change, while good, must be considered properly and wisely before acting on. This is shown in Samantha being led by her two new friends to do many things that are against the rules, which eventually culminates in being scolded by Samantha’s beloved Aunt. At the same time though, the characters acknowledge that some change, like women’s suffrage, if carefully considered first, can be good and necessary if it is the right thing to do. I overall liked this moral, as it is a true one, but I did not like how Samantha’s friends did lead her to do a lot of things she shouldn’t have, most of which had no negative consequences.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: Overall, I would recommend this book to young girls that could understand, around the six to nine years old range and older.
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Brief Suggestive Content: A girl is shown putting on long underwear in a picture, her friends nearby. There is nothing sexual or immodest in nature, though it does show above her knee.
The historical notes show a lady in her corset, with a tiny bit of back and cleavage.
Violence: A girl gets in a fight with a boy.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Gosh” is used once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: ½/5 Brief Appearance: A girl threatens to fight a boy twice, and later does (see above), once by making a fists, though at times she doesn’t. A girl falls and gets a scrape. A girl exaggeratedly says that her arm feels like it will be pulled out because the dog is pulling its leash. It mentions that people scream as a fire truck goes by.
Religious Issues: ½/5 Brief Mention:
Magic: ½/5 Brief Mention: “Magic” is used for descriptive purposes. No magic is done in the book.
The Wizard of Oz is mentioned in the historical notes.
Others: “Danced” is used for descriptive purposes.
The historical notes mentioned The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland. The historical notes also mention that very young boys were dressed very much like girls during that time, complete with long curls and dresses. There is even a picture of one such child.
Overall: ½/5 All Ages Appropriate: Overall it is a clean book that I would recommend morally to children six and older.
Here is the review to the next book in the series, Samantha Saves the Day. christianentertainmentreviews.blog/2018/10/29/a-parents-guide-to-samantha-saves-the-day-book/