All my life, I always wanted to be a reporter.After the successes of the first few television films based on the American Girls Collection, the company saw the potential of a theatrical feature based on one of their historical characters. Starring Abigail Breslin as Kit Kittredge, the film chronicles the life of the eponymous character as she aspires to be reporter, all while thwarting a series of robberies blamed on the hobo community.
— Kit Kittredge
The film provides examples of:
- Actionized Adaptation: The film added some relatively mild chase and action scenes in the film's climax, where Kit and her friends chase after and confront Mr. Berk, along with his assistant Frederich and Miss Bond, who turned out to be the ones responsible for the robberies involving hobos.
- Adaptation Distillation: The film is largely based on an original plot with a few key elements taken from the books.
- Adapted Out: Charlie and Aunt Millie both function as The Ghost; they're referred to, but you only see Charlie in a photograph in the background. Other characters have their significance cut down (Uncle Hendrick and Roger each only have a scene or two) but remain in the story. Grace, however, remains, and is the only pet in the historical-to-movie adaptations not to be adapted out.
- Alternate Continuity: Elements from the main book series are incorporated in the film, but unlike the earlier films that are more or less based on the original source material, this one largely discards the Central Series in favour of an original plot with new characters thrown in.
- Canon Foreigner: A number of characters, namely Countee, Mr. Berk, Miss May Dooley and Miss Lucinda amongst others, were created exclusively for the movie and are not present in the main book canon.
- Genre Shift: Kit's movie is mostly a historical drama, but detours into a kid-power mystery adventure with villains not present in the books.
- Girliness Upgrade: Kit states that she doesn't like pink in the original books, and her collection originally reflected this with no pink outfits and items. Once her movie came out, Kit got a batch of pink outfits and a pink blanket, and she wears these in the movie.
- The Great Depression: The setting. While relatively tame, it still did have some rather harrowing moments in keeping with the stark reality of the Depression, particularly when one of Kit's neighbours' houses was foreclosed.
- Live-Action Adaptation: As in the first and so far only live action American Girl movie to receive a theatrical release.
- Lyrical Dissonance: "Ain't We Got Fun" as performed by Renee Olstead on the soundtrack, which can be heard halfway through the film when the dance instructor comes in to live in the Kittredge household as a boarder. The lyrics of which are rather fitting considering the time period, but are thus pretty depressing.
- Official Cosplay Gear: Both girl- and doll-sized outfits were made to tie in with the movie. Several outfits worn by Breslin's character were made in doll form, such as Kit's floral-print dress and Kit's School Skirt Set, though the nightgown was also made available for girls as well, along with a revised version of Kit's meet outfit for girls which is similar to the original meet outfit but comes with a sleeveless sweater instead of the one identical to the doll.
- Samus Is a Girl: Countee is first seen as a boy, but at the end of the film it is revealed that she is a girl named Constance, as Will states it's safer to travel the rails as a boy.
- Snooping Little Kid: Particularly in the final act of the film, where Kit and her friends get to confront Mr. Berk and his accomplices.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: Countee disguises herself as a boy, due to it being safer to travel that way.