With the summer blockbuster movies in the theaters, you can't get through the big box stores without bumping into an Iron Man, Hulk or Speed Racer toy. And because those toys are mostly aimed at boys big and small, the girls get a little left out when it comes to movie tie-ins.
Well this summer, there is a movie just for the girls — American Girls, in fact. But you won't spy Kit Kittredge: An American Girl toys all over Target or Wal-Mart. American Girl toys are sold exclusively through their stores, in catalogs or online at store.americangirl.com. So to get your KK fix, you would need to travel to New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta or Dallas (more stores are in the works but not in Florida) or let your fingers do the walking. You also can find some items on Amazon.com or eBay.
By the way, did you know that American Girl is a brand from Mattel? Neither did we!
Here's a little of what you will find (and be prepared to spend a lot for some of the items):
One thing that is pretty cool about the American Girls line is that the dolls are featured in books. So you get to learn about their lives as you do with Kit if you buy her doll, accessories (backordered online until Aug. 1) and book for $105. Kit comes in an outfit reminiscent of the Great Depression era. She's a soft doll that your little girl can cuddle up with at night. And you can read all about her journalistic adventures in the Meet Kit book.
For the girl with a lot of imagination and the parents with a big wallet, Kit's Tree House is a must. The $250 wooden tree house, which is big enough to fit two dolls, has a faux stained-glass window that opens and a balcony big enough for Kit to stand on; a pretend oak tree that supports the house; a lantern with glow-in-the-dark lightning bugs inside; and a rope and bucket to lift Kit's dog, Grace, up to the balcony (Grace sold separately as are a lot of Kit's accessories).
Speaking of two dolls in that tree house, you'll probably want to get your little American Girl Kit's best friend — Ruthie, who also costs $105 with the accessories and book. However, if you feel like that is a little too much for the best friend, you can get just the doll and a paperback book, Really Truly Ruthie, for $90.
For the American Girl fan who can't afford some of those American Girl prices, this seems like a good deal: Kit Frame Puzzles ($9.99) include a set of three puzzles that feature scenes from stories about Kit. When the puzzles are completed, they can slip into the oval frame that is included.
Other great low-cost AG items are the books associated with the characters that start at $6.95. Truly a good way for your little girl to learn about history and enjoy the characters — without the high price tag. And if you check your local library, you may be able to find some of the books there.
One of our favorite accessories for Kit is something that you don't see much of anymore — a typewriter! The set, at $22 and backordered until Aug. 1, features a typewriter that "dings" just like the real thing, typing paper and a typewriter eraser. Surely, for the little computer user, this will be an antique piece.
Now, if you just can't afford any of this, you could win a package of toys featuring Kit, Ruthie, their accessories, clothes and furniture from Turner Classic Movies at http://www.tcm.com/2008/essentialsjr/sweepstakes/. If you don't win the grand prize, 25 first-prize winners will receive a TCM Essentials, Jr. DVD collection including five movies to watch as a family. To enter the American Girl Sweepstakes, you must be 18 or older.
Sherry Robinson can be reached at (727) 893-8305 or firstname.lastname@example.org.