A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the soundtrack to the first feature film based on the immensely popular American Girl book series and stars kid actress Abigail Breslin. The movie takes place during the Depression and has songs from that era and new songs from current artists with an overall theme of optimism and "finding the silver lining." The lyrics and content are all-American, clean, and suitable for all ages.
What's the story?
Kit Kittredge: American Girl tells the story of a bright, imaginative 10-year-old girl growing up in Cincinnati during the Great Depression. While trying to be a reporter, she shares incredible adventures with her friends. The star-filled cast includes Abigail Breslin, Chris O'Donnell, Joan Cusack, Stanley Tucci, and Julia Ormond. The KIT KITTREDGE: AMERICAN GIRL SOUNDTRACK features classic songs from the 1930s plus new recordings from current artists.
Is it any good?
For the first feature film from the American Girl company comes Kit, the witty, ever-optimist, doing remarkable deeds in an ordinary, but depressed life. The soundtrack is fitting and feisty with content made light by upbeat melodies and lyrics. The classic period pieces are sung by both old revered favorites like Billie Holiday, Cliff Edwards, and Spike Jones, and new artists such as The Puppini sisters, country crooner Josh Harris, and the ubiquitous background singer Bridgette Bryant.
The music is simple and humble, but insatiably optimistic, much like the period it sings about. It has lots of racing piano, horns, and string bass typical of the Jazzy era, and gets creative using cowbells, whistles, and ukeleles. "It's Only a Paper Moon" is sung by the vaudevillian Cliff Edwards ("Ukelele Ike") best known for lending his voice as Jiminy Cricket in Disney's Pinocchio, and legends Billie Holliday ("When You?re Smiling") and Spike Jones ("Pack Up Your Troubles") make any song worth listening to. "Bye Bye Blackbird" is a welcomed favorite, and Renee Olstead's version of "Ain't We Got Fun" is just that. In typical American Girl fashion, there's a lesson to be learned about American history, and the soundtrack answers with its own lesson; a little taste of the great music from the Great Depression.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the enduring and ever-growing popularity of the American Girl books and dolls. Do you think the success will carry on onto the big screen? Does the fact that big stars are involved in the movie make you want to see it even more, or would you see it regardless of who was in it?