Kit's Surprise: A Christmas Story - Valerie Tripp
In this third installment we have Kit anticipating her first Christmas since her father lost his job. Things could be better. The Kittredge family is still struggling despite taking in boarders and probably can't afford the upcoming electric bill. And they’re so far behind on the mortgage that eviction is a real threat. But perhaps the hardest part for Kit is that her best friend Ruthie has been largely unaffected by the Great Depression. Ruthie’s banker father still has his job and she still gets new dresses and toys. But Ruthie is a kind soul and wants so badly to help. She knows Kit can't afford the movies so she pays Kit’s way. She knows Kit is ashamed of her old made-over dresses and so she offers one of her own barely used dresses. All of this hurts Kit's pride and eventually the two friends have a bitter falling out.

Although the conflicts are all solved rather quickly and simply I still do enjoy reading this series with my daughter. The books aren't nearly as painful as I expected them to be and I feel like she's learning a little something along the way. I'm not sure I buy the idea that a young girl would be so incredibly proud. My seven year old didn't buy it for a second and thought Kit was being an utter fool. But I do like how the friendship between Ruthie and Kit is portrayed. Ruthie and Kit are very different in more ways than their finances. Kit admires strong independent women like Amelia Earhart. Ruthie, on the other hand, loves fairy tales and princesses. At first Kit struggles to respect Ruthie’s interests - calling them silly and babyish. But finally she comes see value in her friend’s unique perspective.