Kit was the first American Girl to be published after I’d left the series for more adult books. To be honest, up until this summer I wasn’t at all interested in her because she’d seemed to overshadow the other American Girls. Oh, me of little faith.
Soon after the first book, I could see why Kit seemed to be more popular; the stories offer sound advice and empathy for girls whose families are trying to survive the Recession that began in 2008.
On a personal note, it is always easy to find something in every AG series that connects you to the main character. For me, it was Kit’s love for writing. The scene in which she loses herself in writing a fictional story (Kit’s Surprise), especially, was when I truly began to appreciate her.
By the end of this series, I noticed something I’d taken for granted: the illustrations. Reading Samantha earlier was a nice step back into my own time when the illustrations reacquainted me with the books’ familiarity. I’d known the characters well enough that I forgot to look deeper at the picture. With the new experience of Kit, I felt the same sense of familiarity. I know the style of the artists AG hire, but there was more. In Kit Saves the Day, Kit performs a dangerous, Harold Lloyd-esque feat that threatens her life. As I turned the page when reading, I found myself captivated by the life and many emotions that were crossing her mind. This image was worth more words than were put on the page. It can be found on the cover of current publications.
On the writing side, I could also appreciate the guests in their boarding house for their artistic occupations.
“Mrs. Bell told a funny story about Mr. Bell trippig over his sword in a play. That reminded Mr. Peck of the time three strings on his bass fiddle popped during a concert. And that reminded Miss Finney of a patient who was an opera singer and sang whenever he called for her.”
I knew an opera singer who used his opera voice to call for people. I wished we could have learned more about the boarders, who always seemed to me more interesting than the Kitterage family.
The “A Peek into the Past” section at the back of every book seemed to be a little more depressing than other series, but the stories of Kit reminded me what else I like about American Girl: their positivity.
“ ‘I think,’ Stirling said slowly, ‘that it’s okay to want something, even if it seems impossible. Isn’t that the same as hoping?’
‘That’s right,’ said Ruthie. ‘And hope is always good. If we jut give up on everything, how will anything ever get better?’ “
While the stories themselves were good, they were still simplified. Even reading as a young person, I knew a lot of events were glossed over. Reading these books as an adult, I don’t mind because I’m still learning from it. As I said in my post on Samantha, one learns historic vocabulary in context. In Kit, one also learns standard vocabulary. Where else in the children’s literature world would one find the word ‘cantankerous’?
I can’t wait for more.