On the left is Baby Darling Rose, on the right is the Heart Family son.
In a way you could consider the Rosebud dolls to be Kelly's great-grandparents.
From these 2 Rosebud dolls came the Heart family twins,
which led to their cousins,
and all their playground and kindergarten friends,
and the Lil Friends of Barbie
and Teacher Barbie's students
and finally the subsequent evolution to the the Lil friends of Kelly that we know and love
In 1992 the Heart Family cousins became Lil friends of Barbie, a direct connection to the Pink Princess. They were avid bookworms in 1993's BB loves to read, and 8 different students in 1995's Teacher barbie both with and without her panties.
The Teacher Barbie set will always be a favorite of mine because it covered every ethnic base, caucasian children, African American children, hispanic and asian children. No child was left unrepresented on the toy shelves. This seldom happens but when it does, like with dentist barbie and the dental patients, pediatrician barbie of the wobbly knees, and later the art teacher and kelly sets, I have to have them all. The Teacher and student set also spanned my collections of both my favorite toddler dolls, connecting the Heart Family in one fell swoop.
In 1994 Kelly was "born" and became the lil darling we have come to love, and sometimes not-love when she shifts to lemonheads, no-necks, amazons, flatfaces, Chelseas, etcetera..
Today, let's look at Kelly's grandparent predecessors, the Heart Family twins.
Unnamed for the entire run of their existence, this blonde girl and brunette boy (and their African American counterparts) have a chubby charm and winsome grins that for many of us is as addictive as collecting the Lil sister of Barbie herself.
Their sets would celebrate family life, events like birthdays, a new baby, the seasons of summer, fall and winter thru beach playsets, camping and skiing fun sets and mundane things like school, bathtime and the simple joys of a playpen.
They embodied the entire family unit and set the tone for later lines like the Happy Family and Li'l friends of Kelly, including grandparents, friends and cousins in the regular and European release lineups.
Through their various incarnations they had children of all skintones represented in their releases.
The very first appearance of the Heart Family was in 1985 in what would come to be the standard, mom and son, dad and daughter, and often, the whole family grouping of parents and twins, with their African American counterparts in at least 2 of the 3 sets. Mom, Mrs. Heart used the face from Kelley (Starr's friend). The exception to that is Kiss & Cuddle Mrs. Heart doll which used the Steffie body and face. All caucasian dads used the Superstar Ken face and the AA dad used the face from Sunsational Malibu Ken. AA Mrs. Heart dolls used the Walk Lively Steffie mold.
There were also 5 matching parent and child fashion packs that would break the ground for later fashion Avenue Barbie and Kelly matched sets. As well as the release of a babies playset, there was a VW cabriolet car, a 2 story home and a nursery set featuring bath/bassinet and assorted toys.