When visiting the International Toy Fair, I was attracted to simple but effective dolls for promoting healthy pretend play. I saw my share of dolls who cry, whine, eat, and make a variety of noises, but my favorites left the fun up to their little owner.

The story behind a great toy is what often fascinates me. Go! Go! Sports Girls dolls was launched when founder and mom, Jodi Norgaard realized she couldn’t find an age-appropriate doll for her 10-year-old daughter that reflected a positive image for young girls, was proportioned properly and sent a message about a healthy lifestyle and giving back to others. So Go! Go! Sports Girls was begun.

Designed to encourage girls to be all they can be–physically, mentally and emotionally–through sports, each doll has “Dream Big” embroidered on her tummy to remind girls to set goals and strive to attain them. An added secret message corresponds to each girl’s sport, as Cassie, the speedy soccer player, has “Score Goals” as her big dream. Her backpack strapped on her back contains a little soccer ball and exercise towel to achieve it.

This multi-cultural gang of healthy girls includes participants in golf, soccer, running, tennis, gymnastics, dance, softball, swimming and basketball. Girls love the zany hair, soft grabbable take along body, huggable friend and backpack of fun. The Go! Go! Girls’ message prompted a discussion with some little girl friends, aged 7-11. What does it mean to dream big? What are your dreams? How are you going to attain them? Little Brooke said, “To make a big goal, like if you shoot a goal with five seconds left and you make it!” “I want to be the best defender.” After reading Cassie’s bio she said, “Speedy, just like me!”

Go! Go! Sports Girls Dolls donates a portion of its profits to Girls, Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to “inspiring all girls to be smart, strong and bold,” teaching our young girls the added message of giving to others to strengthen young women.

What a wonderful companion to a little girl, growing up learning the merit of exercise, generosity and healthy eating and living.

Sherry Artemenko, MA-CCC, is a speech-languge pathologist with more than 35 years experience and founder of Playonwords.com. The opinions expressed in this review are solely those of the author. Go! Go! Sports Girls doll” was provided for review by Dream Big Toy Company. 11-year-old Brooke McKenna, star forward on the Fairfield Black Diamonds, contributed to this review.