In late 2003, Mattel changed our precious classic Kelly dolls and replaced it with the "cute new look" of Kelly and li'l friends. The negative response to the new look of Kelly earned them the nick-name "lemonheads" among collectors. It was a short-lived change thankfully, and by May 2004 we had seen the last of the lemonhead releases. The lemonhead lineups included the Happy Birthday Tea Party dolls, Sun Fun dolls, Sweetsville dolls, and the holiday specials, Valentine Darlings, Hoppy Spring and Easter Tweets dolls. There was also an Italian lemonhead doll called Fiori di Primavera. Two clothing sets were released for the Sweetsville lineup with 6 fashions in each set.
Following are some side by side comparisons. Lemonhead Kelly has longer more slender limbs which makes her approximately a half an inch taller than classic Kelly. This elongated look makes her appear to be 5-6 years old as opposed to 3-4 years old. The torso of both molds is essentially the same size, as are their feet. Clothes and shoes that fit classic Kelly fit lemonhead Kellys for the most part.
The most noticeable change is the head mold. Lemonhead Kelly has a lemon shaped head that is cartoonish and exaggerated. Classic Kelly hats and headgear are not compatible with lemonhead dolls.
Sweetsville clothing does seem to be interchangeable between classic Kelly and lemonhead Kelly.
Here is a classic Kelly/Lemonhead swap with the heads swapped between the 2 dolls.
The first lemonheads to appear were the Happy Birthday Tea Party dolls. Featuring color coordinated fancy party dresses and child-size plastic tea-cups, this series includes Kelly, Liana, Melody, Maria, Nia, and Deidre. This series was later released with classic kellys much to the relief of many collectors.
Also released were the Sun Fun dolls with a summer theme. Plastic accessories like surfboards, bongo drums and ukeleles made for a nice change from cardboard accessories. This series was also later released with classic Kelly dolls.
The major series surrounding the new mold was the Sweetsville line. There was an extensive marketing push centered around an 11 minute animated video depicting the imaginary adventure of Kelly, Becky, and Keeya to a city made entirely of candy. The line includes four dolls sold individually, a video set complete with two scented dolls, four dolls sold with accessory sets, two clothing packs, and scented li'l ponies.
The four individual dolls in the Sweetsville line are Liana, Tamika, Becky and the redheaded boy Duke de Sucre or Duke of Sugar. In Europe there 2 of the dolls were released as Keeya and Tabitha.
The two scented dolls released with the video are Kelly and Keeya.
Belinda and the Sweetsville cruiser. There was also Deidre and the Ice Cream Cruiser as a foreign release.
Kelly and the Sweetsville Soda Shoppe
Keeya and the Sweetsville Candy Shoppe
Becky and the Sweetsville Cake Shoppe
Several holiday specials were also lemonheads. Target stores released Valentine Darlings for St. Valentine's Day and Hoppy Spring for Easter.
Valentine Darlings Kelly and Belinda
In the prototype photos for the Hoppy Spring dolls, four dolls were pictured, but eventually only three dolls were released. The yellow auburn-haired bunny was dropped from the lineup.
Hoppy Easter Kelly, AA Kelly, and Marisa
Another Easter release was the grocery store series called Easter Tweets.
Easter Tweets Kelly, Kerstie and Maria
An Italian lemonhead release called Fiori di Primavera (of Spring) was also made.
The new fashions are showing up as well. The fashions fit both klassic Kelly and lemonhead Kelly. There are two groovy 5 Fashion Gift packs as well as 6 single carded Fashion Favorites. There will be no shortage of hip new fashions to dress the li'l ones in.