This is a guest review by Rhonda of Living a Doll’s Life.
The Faithful Friends (aka Best Friends) are 19” soft-body historical play dolls made by Swedish doll artist Heidi Ott. They were distributed by Dayton Hudson Corporation and sold at Target stores beginning 1996 for $35. The four main (female) dolls were Beth (blond), Maggie (red hair), Ellie (African American) and a Hannah (brunette).
These dolls do not have jointed arms or legs and are unable to stand or pose with their arms. They can wear some American Girl and Our Generation clothing, but short sleeve/sleeveless or shorts look strange because their cloth extends just above the elbow and above the knee. Their feet are a bit longer making it only possible to wear open toe shoes within other doll clothing lines.
The Heidi Ott clothing is high quality and made with beautiful cotton, homespun materials, multiple layers such as pantalets/bloomers, aprons/pinafores, detailed shoes, intricately knitted socks. No Velcro! All outfits use snap closures and buttons.
Faithful Friends dolls weren’t sold in “Meet” outfits, though there were special outfits such as Maggie’s powder blue nautical two-piece; Beth’s velvet royal blue winter coat and Ellie’s cranberry holiday dress. All of the clothing was true to the prairie style since the dolls were based in 1896.
Like American Girl, the dolls have a book collection of historical fiction. “Meet the Friends” is the first book in the series and takes place in autumn, followed by “Friends on Ice” (winter story), “Flower Girl Friends” (springtime story) and “Best Friends Under the Sun” (summer). Written by Sharla Scannell Whalen and beautifully illustrated by Virginia Kylberg.
There were also male dolls sold, which are very rare to find today. Benjamin who is Beth’s brother, Willie, Jacob and Daniel. Another female doll extremely rare to find is an Asian doll named Jade. I recommend these dolls. They have beautiful clothing, unique face molds, full luscious wigs and the fictional stories are charming.