Opening illustration for "Samantha's Surprise: A Christmas Story." Book Three of The American Girls Collection. Middleton, Wisconsin: American Girl Publications/Pleasant Company, 1998. Publisher's job stamp on dust cover.
Few trends of the last twenty five years have captured the attention of young readers as The American Girls series of dolls and accompanying books. Andreasen, a prolific and New York Times bestselling illustrator, was one of the main original artists of the book series and his depictions of the fresh-faced Samantha Parkington and Felicity Merriman became iconic to readers. This charming scene features Edwardian Era Samantha and her friend Nellie gazing at the coveted Nutcracker Doll in a Christmas toys store window display.
The series debuted in 1986 by the Pleasant Company and featured the stories and adventures of six American girls from the past. It soon expanded to include girls from contemporary times and of different ethnic backgrounds. Today American Girls brand, now a subsidary of Mattel, has numerous retail locations, a web site, magazine, and even an online virtual world whose profits aid several charities.