Age-Appropriate Dolls Help Girls Grow Up Slower

LIL'RIMEROOS

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Fashion dolls seem to allow children to grow up faster than they really need to.

At least that is the opinion of Summer Zilles and her mother Nancy Hoel.

"We want children to stay their age as long as they can," Zilles said.

"Starting out with baby dolls and then growing into the fashion dolls lets little girls time to be motherly, rather than career women. Not that that's a bad thing, but it's more appropriate for 13 and 14 year-olds who are already grown up."

Their store is Strawberry Circle one of the Old Settler's Shops at the north end of Pine.

"We fondly call our store the littlest dolls store because it is so tiny," Zilles said.

Betsy McCall is a doll the store carries with 8- and 9-year-olds or younger in mind, for she has that type of body. Lee Ann is a doll with a 10- to 11-year-old's shape.

For Hoel, the doll world includes the "womanly arts" of sewing, knitting, crocheting and cooking.

Betsy and Lee Ann are vinyl dolls that allow children to play with and sew clothes.

For the month of June the store is sponsoring a coloring contest. Little girls (or their parents) can log onto www.strawberrycircle.com and download the coloring sheet or stop by the store and pick one up.

Deadline for coloring entries is June 30.

Paper doll and doll clothing contests will follow.

"We want to help kids stay kids just a little longer," Zilles said.

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