Changes for Felicity: A Winter Story
by Valerie Tripp; Dan Andreasen (Illustrator)








Felicity Merriman is a spunky, spritely girl growing up in Virginia in 1774, just before the Revolutionary War. Felicity's stories tell of the adventures of this spirited girl, who grows impatient doing the "sitting down kinds of things" that colonial girls are expected to do. Felicity much prefers to be outdoors, especially riding horses! In her stories, Felicity learns about responsibility and loyalty -- to her family, her friends, and her new country -- and what it means to be truly free.As war between the Patriots and Loyalists looms, Felicity faces changes at home and in her relationship with her best friend, Elizabeth.





Valerie Tripp graduated with honors from the first coeducational class at Yale University in 1973. While an undergraduate, she helped found Calvin Hill Day Care Center. She worked there and wrote her senior thesis about the stories the three-, four-, and five-year old children told about themselves. Tripp received a Masters of Education from Harvard University in 1981. From 1974 to 1980, Tripp was a writer for the Addison-Wesley Reading Program, where she wrote songs, stories, games, poems, plays, and skills exercises for children in grades Pre-K to 6. Her boss was a woman named Pleasant Rowland and, from the beginning, the two of them just clicked. Rowland and Tripp eventually went their separate ways in the world, but remained close friends. Tripp became a freelance writer for The Hampton-Brown Company and ELHI Publishers Services creating educational materials for major publishers, including six Just One More poems for beginning readers. Then, in 1983, Rowland telephoned Tripp and together they decided to write a series of books about girls growing up all over the country during some of the most historical events of the past. Rowland envisioned the books as one of the cornerstones of a new company she had just founded in Middleton, Wisconsin called the Pleasant Co. Tripp's first assignment for Pleasant Co. was writing four of the six books about Samantha, a girl in turn-of-the-century America. Tripp then wrote about Felicity, who lived at the time of the American Revolution; Molly, whose life is set during World War II, and Josephina, a girl who lived in 16th-century New Mexico. Sold only by catalog, the Pleasant Co. books and dolls quickly generated major sales. Tripp helps develop the character for each girl in conjunction with Pleasant Co. officials, who then give her the green light to start writing the books. As Tripp writes, company employees begin transforming her character into a doll, doll clothes and other accessories. Each of the seven historical dolls has its own series of six books designed to give a glimpse into a certain period of history. The books have been national best-sellers since they were introduced in 1986. Overall, the "American Girls" series has sold more than 50 million copies. Tripp has also written the Hopscotch Hill School series in addition to the American Girls Series. She was honored as a March of Dimes Mother of the Year for her volunteer work in the local elementary schools and public libraries of Montgomery County, Maryland. (Bowker Author Biography)





Gr. 2-5. From the American Girls series, three more stories about Felicity, a girl living in colonial Williamsburg. In Birthday, she loses favor with her grandfather when she mistreats a gift from him, then regains his respect with an act of courage. In Saves, she finds her beloved horse Penny (lost in book one) and helps her father's apprentice, Ben, when he is hurt while running away to join General Washington. Changes brings the jailing of Felicity's best friend's father as a Loyalist. Felicity secretly helps an old enemy and copes with the death of her grandfather and the birth of Penny's foal. Felicity lives in a world where even the villains are reformed by simple acts of kindness, but it's a world that many readers will be more than happy to revisit. And if they learn a little history while they're with Felicity in Williamsburg, so much the better. Following the usual format of the series, appealing full-color paintings, both full page and vignette, will illustrate the books and a few pages of readable social history will be appended. ~--Carolyn Phelan






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