|Choo-choo, Sam, it's your muthafuckin' birthday.1|
After the launch of the First Three Girls in 1986, the second sets of things and books came out in 1987--around the spring, setting the odd ways of releasing for a while where only half a collection came out to start and the second half came post holiday. Because reasons. So in early 1987, out came Happy Birthday, Samantha! Complete with exclamation point. Are you excite? You'd better be, every birthday book until Kaya has an exclamation point. Pleasant Company (well, Ms. Rowland), having gotten rid of Susan Alder post book two for all that subversive class discussion and capitalism hate and only using Maxine Rose Schur for Samantha's Surprise, needed to get a new author to cover the last three books. So they pulled in Valerie Tripp, who had written the Molly books, and had her do the last three books.
Valerie Tripp is probably the author who has written the most books for American Girl in, like, ever. She's going to come up over and over again on these book blathers, because she wrote a lot of the books. In fact, I'm not sure if she's written anything major other than AG books.3 Her AG series include all of the Central Series for Felicity, Josefina, Molly, Kit, Maryellen, and--as it's coming up now--the second end of Samantha. Plus all the Hopscotch Hill Books and the upcoming WellieWishers series. Her writing is hit and miss for me a lot--some of it tends to be very formulaic, which is likely due to AG requirements. And I've been known to harp on the way she writes for AG. She's not my fave of the AG authors by any means,4 but in ways she is a fairly decent author. I'll be nice. First internal illustrations by Nancy Niles, second by Dan Andreasen. In the Beforever Volumes, this is Chapters 1-5. I will continue using the old numbering system until I get to Ellie's books, whereupon I will still break them up into "books."5
Just like Samantha Learns a Lesson, this is one of those books that gets overhyped when people don't actually go back and read the books and instead are going off Childhood AG Nostalgia. Into the book, and I shall pop the childhood bubble you've been carrying around for some time. Cause AG was never as radical as you want to think it was.