No Ordinary Sound: A Classic Featuring Melody

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I am so excited for American Girl’s newest BeForever character, Melody Ellison! They are handling her release pretty differently than Maryellen’s, and so far so good, I say! Her first book was released on January 1st and the doll with the rest of her collection is scheduled to be available in July. I decided to buy her book now, even though that means I will have two copies if I buy the doll (and I probably will). I have finished reading it and wanted to share a few of my thoughts. Don’t read this if you don’t want spoilers!

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  1. I love the illustration on the front cover! Melody is so cute! I love the dimples…I really hope that means she is going to have a brand new face mold.
  2. American Girl posted a video on YouTube and to their Facebook page that interviews Denise Lewis Patrick, the author of the first two Melody books. It gives fans a little taste of what is to come and also shows some more adorable illustrations of Melody that come from the other two book covers. I hope there will be more of these videos to come between now and Melody’s official release.
  3. Overall I liked the book, but it did not follow the six book format. It really was one long story, with minor events that happened throughout that would take precedence for a couple of chapters. I think I liked this overall, but might have liked to have more of the scenes expanded and made into more pressing conflicts. I would have liked Melody’s protest at the bank turn into something more, or more details about her sister’s trip to Washington D.C. I felt like there were some parts that dragged a little bit.
  4. I loved the focus on music throughout. I’m a little biased as a music teacher, of course, but I think it’s so important to show girls that music is something worth being passionate about .
  5. The racial problems Melody’s family encountered in the book were truthful, informative, and heartbreaking. I think these issues will resonate with readers of all ages. The thought that kept reoccurring with me was: This happened in the 1960s…that was not even that long ago.
  6. I love the description of how Melody has her hair done and her sister’s Afro! I have always been fascinated with how textured hair is styled (I often stare enviously at the intricate weaves I see students with at school) so it was fun to know that Melody only wears her hair down and straight for special occasions. I wonder how the doll’s hair will be styled. I am sure it will be straight like the front cover (with the ends curled up maybe), but maybe pulled into pigtails? It said that is Melody’s everyday hairstyle, so that seems like a possibility.
  7. Melody’s family dynamics are fun. They actually reminded me a bit of Maryellen’s family…older siblings doing cool things, sharing a room, etc.
  8. I wish there would have been a description of what school was like for Melody.
  9. I hope that American Girl finds some sort of multimedia way for girls to learn more about Motown. I liked throughout that they mentioned lyrics to songs that girls probably recognized (“Hey Mister Postman”) but maybe didn’t realize were Motown.
  10. I am so excited for Melody! I have a feeling she is going to find a home in my collection! My sister and I have already argued about which of us gets to buy her, but I suppose the world won’t end if our collections have some duplicates. 🙂
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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Jen says:

    I appreciate your review… I have read it as has Brianna. Overall I felt the characters didn’t have as much depth as Maryellen’s book… As you say, there is a lot more to be said about older sister. I struggle a bit that this book is so similar to the book “The Watsons Go to Birmingham.”
    The illustrations of Dee Dee couldn’t be cuter!

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    1. Emily says:

      Yes, I agree about the depth of the characters, that’s a really good point. I decided not to compare them to Maryellen’s, though, since I’ve read all of her books and only one of Melody’s…hopefully the second book will delve into the personalities of the characters a bit more. I felt like her friends were missing dimension as well as her parents and her second oldest sister. It’s been so long since I have read “The Watsons Go to Birmingham” that I didn’t even think about the similarity. Now that you mention it, I think you are right. I am going to have to reread and compare.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jen says:

        For me, reading the historical books is what makes me “fall for” a particular doll. I haven’t had that feeling yet with Melody but I’m keeping an open mind until after the 2nd book. DD cried for hours after reading Melody, and she is in middle school.

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  2. Sharry A. says:

    I really enjoyed this book. Since I am black, and was born 2 years before Dr. King died, it has a significant meaning to me. I grew up on Motown, and I have older brothers who constantly played their records, (and I still do!). My mother actually got to meet Smokey Robinson when she worked in a little club in Detroit when she was younger. I loved reading about Melody’s family and friends. I sang in the children’s choir at my church too, so it brought back some good memories there. I could totally picture Vonnie’s afro, and Dwayne’s spinning around and singing. And I was also the victim of racism while my family was en route to CA from NYC in 1979. I can’t remember what state we were in, but I remember having to use the bathroom, and a gas station attendant told me I couldn’t. My dad got outta the car, and really laid into this man, (while I used the bathroom). It was quite an experience. Anyway, I can’t wait for the next book! I won’t be getting the doll, but I can’t wait to see what accessories she’ll have. Another record player and some Motown records, perhaps?

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    1. Emily says:

      It is so cool how much you have in common with Melody! Maybe you will change your mind about getting another doll. 🙂 It makes me sad to think that you had to experience such blatant and disgusting racism as a child (seriously…what kind of person doesn’t let a kid use the bathroom?). I think it’s all the more reason, though, why Melody is so important and will teach girls how far our nation has come and how far it still has to go. I am super excited for the next book, too!

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