When I first began collecting dolls as an adult and decided I wanted to have more than just American Girls in my collection, I found a wonderful website created by another adult doll collector named Maria. Her website, Just Magic Dolls not only describes other 18″ dolls, but compares their quality to dolls like AG and Magic Attic. (Since then, she has moved to another website called dollation.) I discovered the Little Sister Gotz dolls on her website and knew I had to add them to my collection.
Gotz is a giant German doll company that has been in the doll making business since 1950. They were actually the first manufacturers of American Girl dolls back when Pleasant Rowland was in charge. I’ve heard a rumor (I do not know if this is true) that once Mattel started making AGs, Gotz created the Little Sister dolls as competition and Mattel was not happy because the dolls were too close to AGs. Yes, these dolls have the same body and limbs as AGs and the same excellent quality of wigs, but their faces are completely different. They have what is known as the Mona Lisa smile. My mom loves these dolls because of that. It’s hard to tell whether they are smiling or glum but I think that’s great especially for people like me, who make stories with their dolls and sometimes the dolls aren’t always happy!
The Little Sister dolls were made from 2001-2002. There were three dolls:
I was new to non-AG doll collecting and when I was browsing Maria’s website, I looked at every doll she discussed and I didn’t pay much attention to detail. So, when I went on ebay in search of a Gotz Little Sister doll, I saw listed two of them together in excellent condition that looked to me like Lily and Tess for only $25! I didn’t even think, I bought them immediately. As I was waiting excitedly for them to come home to me I did more research on the Gotz dolls and found that after 2002, Gotz started a new line of dolls called Precious Day dolls. It started with a total of 5 dolls, Jessica, Elizabeth, and Julia, and two more, which were Hispanic and Asian:
These two, however were dropped after the first two years.
Although this new line (minus Kimberly and Alicia) had the same face mold as the Little Sisters, they were different in two areas. They had rooted and layered hair instead of wigs, and they were no longer pigeon toed (you can see in the pics that the Little Sisters toes point inward).
I couldn’t find a better picture of them in their meet outfits:
I went back to my ebay pics of my dolls and realized that I had bought two of these dolls. The seller, just like me, didn’t know that these weren’t Little Sister dolls.
At first I was a little disappointed because I was getting something I didn’t expect, but when I opened their box and took them out I knew they were keepers.
Here is Jessica in her partial meet outfit. She’s missing the white shrug and she’s borrowing Nellie’s shoes.
For a while I actually called her Lily because I loved the name and for that short time I thought she really was Lily, but recently I changed it back to Jessica because I ended up buying the real Lily. Her hair normally isn’t so crimpy, but she had been wearing braids for a while.
Beth is not in her original meet outfit but she is wearing the dress she came in when she arrived at my house. It is an authentic Gotz outfit, but I don’t know anything else about it.
Since her original name is Elizabeth, I decided to keep it, and nickname her Tess. But then, when the real Tess came I realized I had a problem with duplicate names. She couldn’t be Tess, because the real Tess arrived, but she couldn’t go back to Elizabeth because Elizabeth AG had also announced her residency, so she decided to again, still be Elizabeth, but nicknamed Beth.
Kathy also had a problem with duplicate names (does this show you that I have too many dolls or what!? :)).
Kathy arrived just one month after Jessica and Beth. Her original name is Julia, but my Carpatina Julia had claimed that name, so for a while, I called her Katie after the Little Sister doll. Well, once the real Katie came, she changed her name to Kathy.
After reading this, I’m sure you know that I have all the Little Sister dolls too. I got them in much worse condition than the Precious day dolls, because if you want a good condition Little Sister doll, expect to pay quite a bit of money.
Katie came first, and she is actually in really good condition. I picked her up because I thought she was really different from Kathy. Her hair is a much more natural red color (compared to Kathy) and she doesn’t have bangs.
I’ve heard some people say these dolls have gloomy faces. I disagree, but I think they look slightly more gloomy in photographs than in person. All of my Gotz dolls are happy…except for Katie. Katie is irritated with me right now. She arrived in June wearing a repro of Molly’s garden dress. Usually I change my dolls right away when I get them, but I kept her in it because she played Kit’s mom in her birthday story. She ended up staying in that dress almost all summer when she and some other dolls worked in a flower garden. I changed her into a bathing suit for a week, but then she went right back to wearing that garden dress to star in the Meet Kit story. Right now, she is happy to be in some modern clothes, but she’s pretty annoyed because I’m going to change her right back into the garden dress yet again when I start to shoot Kit Learns a Lesson next week.
Tess came to me with filthy skin, a stained up body, and messy hair. I cleaned her skin and combed her hair was much as I could, but her hair is still kind of frizzy in some places.
I was surprised at how dark her hair is. It’s much darker than Beth’s. I suppose Tess’s hair is similar to Beforever Samantha, while Beth’s hair is similar to PC Samantha.
Here is a comparison pic of Tess and Beth’s hair:
I just love Gotz hair. It has just the right amount of wave and layering (at least for Beth):
And then when you curl it…Oh, wow she becomes a different doll:
This is Beth at Samantha’s birthday party last year.
Lily also came to me with dirty, dusty skin, slightly frizzy and very thin hair.
I styled it because it really doesn’t look all that good down.
Here are the Little Sisters together:
The Precious Day dolls:
And the six of them together:
These past few months I’ve been in a multiple jointed doll fetish. I’ve had Henriette, my first kidz n cats and multiple jointed doll since she came out in 2013. Then I got the hopscotch hill dolls, another kidz n cats Jakob, Via E Alexis (with Tatiana on the way), and now my final Gotz doll, Sophie. (Once Tatiana comes hopefully in late November, I’ll do a post on my multi jointed dolls comparing them). Gotz created two brands of the exact same doll, Happy Kidz and Classic Kidz. The Classic Kidz dolls feature the exact same doll but are more expensive because they wear designer clothes. The Happy Kidz are cheaper since they wear plainer clothes. I bought Sophie basically NIB from a seller on ebay who had planned to use this doll for displaying the outfits she made, but never got around to it.
I’ve noticed that there are very few detailed reviews of these dolls online, so I thought I’d give you one here. I was about to take her out of the box when I realized, I need to take a picture of her first! Here she is before I’ve taken her out.
The back of the box. Note: these dolls are only made in Germany and are not shipped to the US which makes them difficult (and expensive) to get here.
Side of the box:
Sophie came with a mini catalog of Gotz doll fashions, a little card stating her number and authenticity, and a hair styling DVD. I watched the DVD (I was worried it might all be in German but you can chose German or British with a very heavy British accent) and was a little disappointed because it was extremely short and there wasn’t really any step by step way to do the hair. They just showed everything really quickly.
Anyway, here is Sophie still strapped in her box. All the HK and CK dolls come with their legs crossed and the hands tied behind their backs. I think they could come up with a better pose. It doesn’t look bad on Sophie because she’s wearing a ballerina outfit, but I’ve seen other HKs and CKs new in box and they look like they’ve been dying to go to the bathroom for months!
When I took her out of the box I caught a huge whiff of musty basement smell. She must have been stuck in the seller’s basement for a long time.
Her hair is tied back safely with a scrunchie.
After being in that box for so long she badly wanted to stretch. Out of all the multi jointed dolls I own I am most impressed with Sophie. There is not one joint in her body that is too tight or too loose, they are all perfect and allow me to pose her any way I want with great ease.
Her hair is exactly like Beth’s just a tiny bit thinner. It has the same shininess, color and wave at the ends.
This picture highlights two things: her ballet flats look to me like real little girl ballet flats. I know NOTHING about being a ballerina but even the bottoms of the shoes are lined with a suede like material. Her hands are beautifully sculpted (however, if you think these hands are great, just wait until you see Alexis – she takes it to a whole new level. I promise to talk about her more when her best friend Tatiana comes) and each hand is slightly different.
Even the palm of her hand is daintily sculpted. Does anyone else own a HK or CK doll and know how to get her bracelet of authenticity off without cutting it? I can’t figure it out so she’s still wearing it.
A close up of Sophie’s sweet face. It kind of looks like she’s taking a selfie, doesn’t it? Like all the Gotz dolls I have, she too has a neutral expression where you can easily imagine her to be thoughtful and inquisitive or pensive and wistful, but she doesn’t have to always be ultra happy which makes storytelling that much more fun.
Here she is without her pink wrap. Her wrap is very thin and shapeless when taken off of her body.
I’m going to have my Sophie be around the same age as Henriette who is 7 so she can have a playmate, but as you can see, her body is older since she is just developing breasts but to me, her face looks pretty young. Her joints are so well concealed. They don’t stick out or make her look ugly.
Here is her complete meet outfit. It has lots of layers. I find the wrap to be just okay because it’s so thin and the tutu is disappointing because it’s just two layers of tulle, but everything else, leotard, tights, and leg warmers are excellent quality and the shoes are top notch, definitely the best ballet flats I own.
Since neither she nor I were enjoying the musty basement smell still emanating from her body, she begged me to put her in a different outfit. She is too big to fit into Magic Attic/Carpatina clothing and I think she could fit into certain AG clothing although some of that might be too big. What she fits in the best is Walmart My Life As clothing. Walmart has really gotten better and better at making great 18′ doll clothing for a very cheap price (as long as you ignore the quality of some of the outfits). Here she is in a cute play outfit:
Doesn’t she look so sweet? I think this is her favorite outfit.
I will leave you with a final picture of my complete Gotz doll collection.