March Bookgroup Read: Meet Kit

It’s time for our bookgroup discussion, and this month we are going to talk about the book “Meet Kit”.  I hope everyone was able to get their hands on a copy of it.  Even if you didn’t in time, you are still free to comment once you get the opportunity to read it.  That’s the beauty of the internet!

Kit’s story is my favorite of all the historicals.  I truly think the reason for this is Kit grew up in the same era as my mom did, and I can remember her telling stories of growing up during the depression.  The different stories told within the spectrum of the Kit books covers a number of issues that I remember my mom talking about.  Especially the part about people losing their homes and having to move in with other relatives or as boarders.  My mom grew up in a “blended” household made up of her, my uncle, my grandmother, and numerous aunts and uncles!

Some of the other things that I love about Kit’s stories: her desire to become a reporter, always trying to help out, and her desire for a treehouse. I remember thinking a treehouse would be one of the coolest things on the planet! Unfortunately we didn’t have any trees that really lent themselves to one, but a girl can dream. I also like her tomboyish qualities, and how she hates her frilly bedroom.

One thing that might be lost on younger readers today would be Kit’s owning a typewriter. Unlike today, where nearly every home has a computer of some sort, typewriters were not a common place item in any home. Even when I was a teenager, a typewriter was a big deal, I received one as a graduation gift. So her not just writing her newspaper stories, but also typing them up is a cute feature that I think makes her books and stories very unique for that particular era.

Now for the part I didn’t like–there is a historical section in the back part of the book where it talks about the Great Depression. It makes it sound like the only place it happened was in the United States, when in fact, it affected the entire world. Times were tough everywhere, and there were many places that things were as bad, if not worse, than in the United States. Just a little detail that bugged me.

While I was reading the section about the Great Depression, the Broadway musical and movie, “Annie” popped into my head.  There are several items mentioned that are addressed in songs–“We’d Like To Thank You Herbert Hoover” and “I Don’t Need Anything But You” both came to mind.  Perhaps another easy to absorb story to introduce young people to the Great Depression, and a lot of fun too!

Overall, I loved the story though, and I especially liked the detailed illustrations throughout. I also loved the inserts of Kit’s typewritten stories, I chuckled out loud at the drawing of Mrs. Willmore “beside herself”. My favorite line in the whole book is when Kit and Ruthie are talking about the newspaper and Kit says “This is supposed to be a newspaper, not a snoozepaper.”

Did you like “Meet Kit”?

Next month we will discuss “Isabelle”.  The book for May is Meet Marie-Grace and for June it’s Lea.

February Book Group Read–Lanie!

Hello everyone, welcome to our bookgroup discussion! Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussion via the comments section. I do want to set a few rules first though. No personal attacks, we can all have differing opinions without nastiness. And please, keep on topic. If I find that a comment is not on topic, it will be deleted. The only exception to this is if the conversation goes in that direction, but this is not the place to discuss other posts and other goings on in doll land. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get started!

The book for this group “meeting” was Lanie, written by Jane Kurtz. Lanie was the 2010 Girl Of The Year, and what attracted me to her story was the ecology/nature aspect of it. I’ve been a long time supporter of recycling, even working as the recycling coordinator at my last job for a small municipality. I also liked the outdoorsy theme running throughout the book, when I was that age, I practically lived outdoors.  I was even known to drag all of my Barbie stuff outside during the summer months.

Since we’ve all read the book, I’m not going to go into depth about the story. This isn’t intended to be a review, nor do I want to recap it completely, less ruining it for someone who maybe hasn’t read it. The main purpose of this group is to discuss various points in the book that we liked or didn’t like, themes, etc.

Let’s see…as I mentioned before, the nature part of it was a big attraction for me, and my favorite part of that was the story about the hatching of the butterflies. I’ve always been fascinated by that whole process, particularly with Monarch butterflies, and it took me back to a book I had when I was a kid that explained the process with fantastic photos. I’ll be honest, after I got done reading Lanie, I was tempted to go order one of those monarch butterfly hatching kits, it stirred up that interest all over again. I also liked her journaling like she was doing scientific studies and her vast interest in science.  Her interest in birds was also appealing to me as I used to be very into that when we lived at our other house.  It wasn’t something I got into until I was an adult, but it’s a fascinating subject!

Parts I didn’t like: the nasty neighbor with the cat. I felt that the whole part of the story with Lulu and the cat having a confrontation was kind of unnecessary. Plus the whole situation with the neighbor went rather unresolved at the end of the book. So that really served no purpose and I think that section of the book could have been left out and replaced with more about her older sister, her aunt and the science she was studying. I also didn’t like how her older sister was depicted at the beginning, she comes off as being a bit of a prissy pain in the neck, but then later in the story she seems to be the one person who genuinely feels bad for Lanie. I’m just not sure about how she was portrayed.

The rest of the characters were fine, although I would have liked to have seen more of her Aunt Hannah. I haven’t read the second book yet, so perhaps that is covered more there. I got a kick out of her descriptions of her parents, her dad sounds like the typical absent minded college professor! And Emily is your typical 1st grader, picky eater with an unreasonable fear of bugs. I thought they got the dynamic between the two girls right, it reminded me of a friend of mine who had not one, but two younger sisters, and the issues they would have.

There were quite a few things that she had to deal with that were handled in an appropriate manner–her envy at her friend Dakota, taking on the job of the garden in her Aunt Hannah’s absence, and her frustration with her family and their “indoor genes” when she suggests going camping.  My only complaint was in how her mother handled the situation with Emily when she damaged Lanie’s journal for science class.  This would have been a good opportunity for the author to go into respect for other people’s belongings a bit more.  I thought it was kind of lost and something that could have been a learning moment was ignored.  Oh well.

Did anyone else love the little illustrations throughout the book?  They reminded me a bit of Susan Branch or Marjolein Bastin drawings.

Overall, I thought this was one of the better GOTY books, and I especially liked that her interests were science related.  I wish they had done more stories like this, showing that girls can have interests beyond dance and music.

Talk amongst yourselves now!!!

Book for March 15 is Meet Kit (pre BeForever version), book for April 15 is Isabelle, book for May 15 is Meet Marie-Grace.

emily 5
My own Lanie and Emily!