By Ann Zeise
Yesterday I went to see Kit Kittredge: An American Girl at our local theater, and was utterly charmed. If Abigail Breslin doesn’t win an Oscar for her role, I’d be surprised.
The show has a stikingly contemporary feeling, what with all the jobs being lost, people having their homes foreclosed, and families separated as fathers go off to other cities to look for work. The mothers and children scrambled to look for ways to earn and save money. Abigail finds out that she could earn a penny a word for her news stories, if only she could get the editor to take her seriously enough to even read her news stories of what she observes about the depression world of her Mom’s boarding house or at the nearby hobo camp.
Even a young child will be able to see that the “bad guy” in the story is the economy. The villians are loveable, just desparate people, who have no weapons. Not a gun or knife in the whole show.
The heroes in the story are the children, both boys and girls. There is enough action to keep most boys interested, so don’t just take your daughters to see it. One of the boys in the story is about 15, and is taking care of another young hobo whose parent has died of the influenza.
Canadians will get a kick that the film was directed by their own Canadian director Patricia Rozema, and the film was made entirely in Toronto, though the story is supposed to take place in Cinncinnati.
I’ll include here some other reviews and resources so you can make up your own mind.
Reviews of Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
A girl for hard times
In midst of the Depression, a cub reporter separates the bad guys from the hobos
By John Griffin, The Gazette
Just in time for the summer holidays – a real movie for real girls. Little Miss Sunshine’s great Abigail Breslin is Kit Kittredge: An American Girl, Patricia Rozema’s sweet but unsticky take on the famed and beloved American Girl books aimed at the 8 and up set.
“Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”
Yes, it’s based on a doll. But this gentle-spirited movie makes the past come alive.
By Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com
Be sure to watch the video review by a 6 year old.
To modern children, the Depression (something that happened even before households had TVs, much less DVD players) must seem like an abstraction — how could it not be? What’s remarkable about “Kit Kittredge” is the way it strives for emotional authenticity, and often achieves it. The picture manages to give a sense of what people’s lives were like during the Depression, at least as far as those of us who didn’t actually live through it can understand from the stories our parents told us.
Kit: American Girl Unit Studies Resources
The Official site for Kit Kittredge: An American Girl
View the trailer, play free games, and explore the world of Kit Kittredge, which stars Academy Award nominee Abigail Breslin.
Sharing Kit Movie Thoughts
What did you think of the Kit movie? What was your favorite part? Who was your favorite character and why? What character in the movie was most like you? If you could be any character, who would you be and why?
A to Z Related Resources
Kit worked hard to help the hobos, and to help others understand their plight. Today we have the “homesless” all around us. What can you do?
Books, Bountiful Books
In Kit’s day, a child had to wait for the traveling librarian to drive by. Today’s kids can find free books and stories online.
Kit begged her mother to let her adopt a dog. Her mother was reluctant. What is involved in keeping a pet dog?
The boarders at the Kitteridge boarding house did not watch TV, but entertained each other with their talents. Here are some free skits and simple plays fo ryou to try out.
Kit helped her mom keep a vegetable garden. Why not try growing some food yourself!
News for Kids
Kit wanted to be a journalist and to see her stories in print. Today kids can get their news stories published online in kids’ online news blogs.
Kit’s mom made her a stylish looking dress out of chicken feed bag. Learn to sew and make yourself something from recycled material.