CHICAGO – Stephanie Logan rushed to Chicago's American Girl (search) store to buy the doll maker's latest collectible, “Marisol,” for her 4-year-old.
"I wasn't sure if they were going to take it off the line or off the market, so I wanted to be sure she could have one, just so she could understand the content of the doll later on," Logan said.
That content is attracting plenty of controversy.
Like all American Girl dolls, Marisol comes with a book. In her story line, the Mexican-American doll lives in Pilsen, a predominantly Hispanic community in Chicago.
But on page 17, her parents decide to move to the suburbs because their neighborhood is too “dangerous.”
"The first feeling is outrage,” said Nancy Villafranca, director of education at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum (search). “They're saying in order to be safe you have to move out of Pilsen. That's not the case."
American Girl says that criticism is unfair, and that city traffic was the real danger in Pilsen.
"It's standard to focus on one sentence that is taken out of context,” American Girl representative Stephanie Spanos said. “When they are talking about ‘dangerous,’ they are referring to the fact that they want her to have a home that has a yard, so that she doesn't have to play in the streets."
The author of "Marisol" is Gary Soto, who has written dozens of books and is a multiple award winner. He, too, is Mexican-American.
American Girl says its research team went to great lengths to accurately portray Marisol's community.
"The picture we paint of Marisol's community in this book is one that is very warm, very lively, and very close-knit," Spanos said.
But is that picture truly accurate? Crime was down 15 percent in Pilsen last year, according to crime statistics. However, not too long ago criminologists considered Marisol's former neighborhood to be one of America's most violent gang hotbeds.
Marisol wears a light-purple knit cap and a color-coded striped scarf to match, baggy khaki capris and a medallion-type necklace. Additional accessories, such as tap or ballet outfits, run from $20 to $26. Marisol and the book sell for $84 on the American Girl Web site.
Click on the video box above to see a report by FOX News' Jeff Goldblatt.