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Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy (1964)

by Louise Fitzhugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harriet the Spy (1)

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5,3181071,270 (4.08)138

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Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
The 1960s were a spectacular time for children's and young adult literature, I have a lot of favorites in this level, but there is just something so refreshing about how caustic and unsentimental this particular book is. A lot of the tone of 'Harriet the Spy', published in '64 (!), got echoed in the equally superb 'From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler', but Claudia could never be as nasty as Harriet, probably because she comes off as a little too precocious and is filtered through the more sophisticated Mrs. Frankweiler. Harriet is just cruel enough to be a real 11 year old girl and is completely unvarnished. Even outside of her notebook the tone was so dismissive and adolescent I couldn't help loving it. Fitzhugh avoids making Harriet act or write above her age in the interest of making her more dynamic, Fitzhugh remembered (and had the requisite skill to pull it off) that children's thought processes are just fine without adult overlays.

Just so I can avoid being all praises, though the book deserves them, Janie was a bit too much as the mad chemistry genius, a bit of an "e-leven" if you will, but the rest of the children are well-rounded, particularly Beth Ellen and Sport. I really enjoyed Harriet's baleful prediction of the future of Marion and her cronies, ha! Harriet's observations along her spy-route and how she applies them to her real life was really well done, too. And every child should get a letter like the one Harriet got from Ole Golly, memories are for remembering, not lying down in, and sometimes you need to lie to others, but never yourself. Aw crap, I forgot this paragraph was for criticisms....phooey.

I picked up 'The Long Secret' at a free-pile so of course I had to read this again, and I'm so glad I did. It's a shame that Fitzhugh didn't leave behind a larger body of work, but I'm going to try and track it down.

Harriet the Spy

Next: 'The Long Secret' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Jul 13, 2019 |
This book can be very engaging for students. It is a relateable story. It’s an older book so some vocabulary words may not be known by students because it’s not a societal norm anymore. The story has a slow start but towards the middle of the book, everything starts happening at once and it gets exciting. Students can possibly create their own introductions to the book instead of the slow start this book has. Other than that, this would be a great book for students. ( )
  blisek1 | Apr 8, 2019 |
The book follows the journey of a young girl named Harriet and her life as a pretend spy. In the story she goes around meticulous journaling things that she notices about people and then she also has a spy route where she consistently watches certain people each day and follows their lives. At some point she loses one of her journals and people find out the very honest and detailed things she writes about them and they become upset and offended and so she has to try and figure out how to make amends to them. It is a good book to teach kids about details and how important they are when writing because the book is full of descriptive attributes and very detailed setting builds. It is also a good book to teach kids about being careful and watching what they say/write and how they say/write it.
  JettThomas | Apr 7, 2019 |
This book is great for students to read in discussion groups. There are many questions that students can discuss their ideas together. This story can also teach students a good lesson. In this story, Harriet's classmates read what she wrote in her notebook and got their feelings hurt. This can teach students to think about what they say about other people. The lesson on kindness can be helpful in the classroom. ( )
  sgoetz3 | Apr 3, 2019 |
I gave this book a 3/5 star review. I personally find it hard to get into. I think that a younger student might also have the same reaction as I do. It is also hard to follow along with because there is so much dialog in the book. I think that this book would have to be read by an older student that is a very good reader. It also is not the nicest book and could be taken the wrong way by students. I think this would need to be in an older classroom with students that can understand the context better. Since it is harder to follow, older students should read it. I think it is a good story but not really a great read for students. I would not really recommend a student to read this book unless it was a topic that intrested them. ( )
  TaylorBond | Mar 28, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 107 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzhugh, LouiseAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Artl, Inge M.Übersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


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)
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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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Average: (4.08)
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1 9
1.5 5
2 43
2.5 18
3 182
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