What do Canadian girls want? Ask them!

TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - Pouty lipped, teen-age dolls with heavy make-up, low-cut tops, bare midriffs and a body image obsession - is that what young girls really want? The plethora of "diva" type dolls on the market could easily make one think so.

Incredulous it could be true, Canadian doll company owner, Kathryn Gallagher Morton, wanted to find out what girls really want in the way of dolls and doll outfits. So, she asked them. She invited girls across Canada to write her with their requests for new products to add to her line of Canadian-themed dolls called the Maplelea Girls. Letters and emails quickly filled her mailbox.

"I'll tell you what our 6 to 12 year old customers didn't want," Gallagher Morton said. "Out of the hundreds of responses, I did not get one request for fishnet stockings, feather boas or high heels. They didn't ask for "slushi" bars, make-up, cars or boyfriends for their dolls."

Typical of the letters she received is the one from twelve year old Amy R. of Owen Sound, ON. "I don't want a doll that sends out a message to have boyfriends and be skinny as a stick. I love Maplelea dolls because they aren't like the other dolls that wear short tops and micro mini-skirts and teach girls about dating."

The most frequently requested doll that Canadian girls asked to be added to the Maplelea Girls line was...a girl who played hockey! They also asked for a Highland Dance outfit, camping gear and pets. And so that is exactly what Gallagher Morton added to the Maplelea Girls line this year, and it has all been flying out the door. Girls know what girls want.

Kathryn Gallagher Morton launched the age-appropriate Maplelea Girls because not only was she concerned about the proliferation of "diva" type dolls on the market, but because she strongly felt that Canadians need more toys that are distinctively Canadian. Each of her four initial doll characters comes from a different geographical area - the mountains (Banff), the Prairies (Manitoba farm country), the Maritimes (Lunenburg) and the big city (Cabbagetown, Toronto.)

With four doll characters already in the line, the other big question Gallagher Morton asked girls was "Where in Canada should the next Maplelea Girl call home?" With a country as vast as Canada, the suggestions were understandably diverse and far-ranging. But after sorting through the mountain of suggestions, certain themes began to emerge. Many girls, from all corners of Canada, were asking for a Maplelea Girl from Quebec.

So, meet the newest Maplelea Girl - Léonie Bélanger-Leblanc of Quebec City. Hockey is her game - Atom level at the local arena and outdoor hockey whenever she can. Her family is very musical and she plays the guitar and flute. She painted a snowy owl on her snowboard and when she visits her cousins in Montreal, she zips down the slopes of the Laurentians.

The 64 page journal that comes with the doll has pages "written" by Léonie which tell about her family, friends, interests and the part of Canada she calls home. As well, the journal has pages with prompts, questions and blanks for the real girl to complete, because every girl has a story to tell.

Available separately are accessory sets such as a full set of hockey equipment, sleepwear, special occasion dresses, swimwear, casual clothes, outerwear and a Pioneer Québecoise outfit. There is even doll furniture and a matching shirt for dolls and girls so they can dress alike.

How have parents reacted to the Maplelea dolls? Kristin D., a mom in Fort Saskatchewan, AB wrote to say "I cannot express how happy I am to see such a fantastic product for our young girls. Canada, and the world, needs this change in children's toys so desperately and finally someone is breaking the mold. Thank you for creating such a great toy and for truly impacting the way many young girls will come to view themselves. I will definitely be sharing your website with other parents."

The girls of Canada have spoken. They want realistic dolls that do the things they like to do! And Maplelea Girls gives them just that.

/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/


For further information: For further information: Kathryn Gallagher Morton, BSW, MBA, President, Avonlea Traditions Inc., PO Box 93157, 1111 Davis Drive, Newmarket, ON, L3Y 8K3, Email for Kathryn: kathryn@avonlea-traditions.com (not for publication), Direct line for Kathryn: (905) 953-8278 (not for publication); www.maplelea.com, 1-800-668-4339 (for publication), Service@avonlea-traditions.com (for publication)

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