July 5, 2021

Review: Kit: Read All About It!

Kit: Read All About It!
American Girl Historical Characters
By Valerie Tripp
Illustrated by Walter Rane
Available now from American Girl
Review copy

Kit: Read All About It! collects what were the first three core books in the Kit series in a single abridged edition. (Kit also had a mystery series.) Kit was added to the American Girl lineup in 2000 and was the first girl whose books I never read as a child because I considered myself too old for them.

It's 1934 in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Great Depression is in full swing. So far, Kit Kitteridge has been insulated from the worst. But suddenly, her family has to take in boarders and she has to live in the attic. Her brother Charlie reveals the truth: their dad is losing his car dealership. He'd tried to hang on, not firing any employees and paying them from his savings, but now he has to close the dealership and the family must make money in other ways to keep their house. Kit is still better off than many of her contemporaries due to her family's home ownership, but they're teetering on the edge of poverty.

Kit: Read All About It! takes a dramatic period of American history and makes it personal and child friendly, as all the American Girl books did. Kit is motivated by her ambition to become a reporter, and writing her newsletter is also a good way for her to hang out with her friends. There's friction between her and her old friend Ruthie, since Ruthie's family is better off than Kit's. There's also tension with the only boarder Kit's age, Stirling, until they learn how to deal with his overbearing mother. Even though Stirling is her friend, Kit is often frustrated by all the boarders. She doesn't like the chores that come with them and wants more of her own space. Her feelings on the situation are very relatable.

The Kit books aren't as dramatic as the Abby books, but they're still fun, quick reads. Real history is woven into stories of friendship and community. There's also a short nonfiction section at the back of the book. I think this is a good read for about the third-grade level.

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