What started off as a “look, she’s from Seattle!” infatuation has quickly turned into full-blown adoration with McKenna and her story. Now, much of the day is spent discussing whether McKenna would wear her hair a certain way or if McKenna would jump on a trampoline like this or that, and what isn’t spent discussing is spent playing with her new doll.
With the doll, the book, and now the matching McKenna outfits from grandma, we thought we were pretty decked out. But that was before we heard she would soon have her own movie, and we knew that would be one we needed to own as soon as it came out.
But, as we said in our McKenna Doll of the Year review, we got lucky and got to check out An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars a few days early. To say that my daughter loved it would be a vast understatement and she begs to watch it daily.
The film is based on the McKenna stories by Mary Casanova and stars Jade Pettyjohn as McKenna and Nia Vardalos and Ian Ziering as McKenna’s parents. Set in Seattle, McKenna is a fourth grader who has a dream to make it to an elite gymnastics group. But, trouble in school and a broken ankle threaten her dream and she must focus on her strengths, overcome her challenges, and rely on friendships – both old and new – in ways she never has before.
Throughout the movie, McKenna remains a very strong role model for young girls. She learns that it’s okay to ask for help and to rely on others, as well as being someone that others can count on. Although she makes mistakes, she always learns from them and really seems to have her friend’s feelings at heart, which I thought was wonderful in a sea of sassy and spoiled young girl stars. Whereas I limit exposure to certain kids’ channels and shows, the McKenna movie will be one that we return to over and over.
We’ve watched the movie 3 times now and the whole family really enjoys it, not just my daughter. Hubby and I both thought the movie was really cute, and that the kids were cute watching it snuggling the McKenna doll with my daughter sporting her McKenna outfit proudly. We think it’s hilarious that each time they show stock footage of scenery or cityscapes, she points out the same Seattle spots, cheering “it’s the Space Needle” or “we go there!”
But, what I absolutely love is that during the scenes in the movie where the girls are doing gymnastics, my daughter does her “routine” on our floor as well. She gets very into her gymnastics, trying out different moves and learning the basics of balance and calisthenics. Then, in the part where McKenna hurts her ankle, my daughter insists on wrapping both her and her doll's foot until the cast comes off later in the movie.
Whether you have a McKenna fan or not, the new movie is definitely worth watching. It’s cute and fun, and it’s got a great lesson for young girls as well as a motivation to get moving. Not only that, but the whole family can enjoy it together!
An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars Blu-ray and DVD combo pack was released this July and is available at Wal-Mart, American Girl Stores and AmericanGirl.com. It is also set to air this Saturday, July 14th on NBC at 8pm EST so make sure you catch it live.