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Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy (1964)

by Louise Fitzhugh

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Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when Harriet's friends find her secret notebook the tables are turned on her. ( )
  lindy_brooke | Apr 12, 2016 |
-Chapter 10, from Harriet's Spy Notebook

Harriet wrote that about one of her best friends. Granted, she never expected him, or anyone else to read it, but still. I can forgive Harriet for what she writes in her notebook, but I can't forgive her bratty behavior.

I remember loving this book as a kid and I was excited to read it again. I am doing a paper for graduate school about children's books (ages 9-12) with strong female protagonists. This book comes up often in lists on that subject.

I have to say I was disappointed. I don't mind that Harriett doesn't follow all the rules, and I don't expect her to be a perfect little child. But I found her tantrums and acting out very annoying. I did some research on the internet and discovered that this book was often challenged and/or banned back in the 1960's, since "Harriet was a poor role model for children because she exhibited delinquent tendencies" (Harriet the Spy - (childrensbooks.about.com)). I also found her parents cold, distant, and completely oblivious throughout most of the book. When Ole Golly (Harriet's nurse/nanny) got married and left, they were at a loss as to how to raise their own child.

If my experience (and those of my friends around my age) is any indication, this book appealed to children everywhere. The librarian I volunteer with even dressed up as Harriet the Spy and carried a notebook around when she was a kid. And she wasn't alone. Kids loved Harriet as a rebel character. They weren't bothered by her bratty behavior; they were inspired by her rebellious streak.

In the end, I guess that's what is unique about this book. In a time when female characters in books were pretty, decorous, and obedient, Harriet went against the grain. She was herself, warts and all and she was unapologetic about it. She didn't want to go to dance school; she wanted to be a spy.

Recommended to:
Grades 3 - 5, kids who are rebellious or different and want to find a character they can relate to. Then again, in my opinion, there are books with more likable rebel girls out there. ( )
  Jadedog13 | Mar 8, 2016 |
great story ( )
  katieloucks | Feb 26, 2016 |
Harriet is my idol. ( )
  emilyesears | Feb 19, 2016 |
One of my favorites when I was a child who also wanted to be a writer. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
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First words
Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play town.
[Harriet] hated math. She hated math with every bone in her body. She spent so much time hating it that she never had time to do it.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the book, not the movie.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Harrriet M Welsch is a spy. She's staked out a spy route, and she writes down everything about everyone she sees, including her classmates and even her best friends. From Harriet's notebooks: I bet the lady with the crosks-eye looks in the mirror and feels just terrible. Pinky Whitehead will never change, does his mother hate him? If I had him, I'd hate him. If Marion Hawthorne doesn't watch out she's going to grow up into a lady Hitler. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before Harriet can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she's written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together? (0-440-41679-5)
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440416795, Paperback)

Ages 8-12. Thirty-two years before it was made into a movie, Harriet the Spy was a groundbreaking book: its unflinchingly honest portrayal of childhood problems and emotions changed children's literature forever. Happily, it has neither dated nor become obsolete and remains one of the best children's novels ever written. The fascinating story is about an intensely curious and intelligent girl, who literally spies on people and writes about them in her secret notebook, trying to make sense of life's absurdities. When her classmates find her notebook and read her painfully blunt comments about them, Harriet finds herself a lonely outcast. Fitzhugh's writing is astonishingly vivid, real and engaging, and Harriet, by no means a typical, loveable heroine, is one of literature's most unforgettable characters. School Library Journal wrote, "a tour de force... bursts with life." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books called it "a very, very funny story." And The Chicago Tribune raved, "brilliantly written... a superb portrait of an extraordinary child."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:35 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.

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