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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a girl who leads a life of danger
I have a theory about "Harriet the Spy". I suspect that no adult that read this book once (and only once) as a child remembers it correctly. For example, if you had asked me, prior to rereading it, what the plot of "Harriet the Spy" was, I could have summed it up like so: Harriet the Spy is about a girl who wants to be a spy. She spies on lots of different people and...
Published on March 21 2004 by E. R. Bird

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost there...
I'm going against the grain by not saying I am completely thrilled by this book. I think the real problems lies in the fact that I read this book as an adult and not a child. Don't get me wrong... Harriet is a great young female character, especially considering the era she was first written in. She's unabashedly smart, clever, creative, independent, goal-oriented, and...
Published on Oct. 30 2000 by erniebear


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's a girl who leads a life of danger, March 21 2004
By 
E. R. Bird "Ramseelbird" (Manhattan, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
I have a theory about "Harriet the Spy". I suspect that no adult that read this book once (and only once) as a child remembers it correctly. For example, if you had asked me, prior to rereading it, what the plot of "Harriet the Spy" was, I could have summed it up like so: Harriet the Spy is about a girl who wants to be a spy. She spies on lots of different people and writes in a notebook, but one day all her friends read the notebook and none of them like her anymore. That is the plot of "Harriet the Spy". And I would be half right. Surprising to me, I found I was forgetting much much more.
In truth, "Harriet the Spy" is about class, loss, and being true to one's own self. Harriet M. Welch (the M. was her own invention) is the daughter of rather well-to-do socialites. Raised by her nurse Ole Golly until the ripe old age of eleven, Harriet must come to terms with Ole Golly's eventual abandonment. Ole Golly marries and leaves Harriet to her own devices just as the aforementioned tragedy involving her friends and the notebook occurs. The combination of the nurse's disappearance from Harriet's life (leaving behind such oh-so helpful pieces of advice as, "Don't cry", and the like) and the subsequent hatred directed at Harriet by her former friends makes Harriet into a veritable she-devil. A willful child from the start (punishments are few and far between in the Welch family) Harriet slowly spirals downward until a helpful note from Ole Golly gives her the advice she needs to carry on.
So many things about this book appeal to kids. The realistic nature of peer interactions is one. Harriet randomly despises various kids, even before her notebook is read. After making their lives terrible, she eventually has to experience what they themselves have had to deal with. Author Louise Fitzhugh is such a good writer, though, that even as you disapprove of Harriet's more nasty tendencies you sympathize with her. Honestly, who would want ink dumped down their back? As Harriet observes various people on her spy route, she writes her observations about them as well as about life itself. She hasn't quite figured out the differences between her life and the life of her best friend Sport (the son of an impoverished irresponsible writer) though she does briefly ponder if she herself is rich (the fact that she has her own private bath, nurse, and family cook never quite occurs to her). On the whole, the book contains a multitude of wonderful characters. Harriet's parents are both amusing and annoying, completely dedicated to their daughter and completely clueless about her needs. I was especially shocked by a section of the book in which Harriet asks her mother if she'll be allowed to eat dinner with her parents that night. Gaah!
Accompanying the text are Fitzhugh's own meticulous line drawings. They're fantastic and eerie. Combined with this timeless story (timeless in all the good ways) the book deserves its status as one of the best books for children. Read it again to remember. You'll find a whole lot more than you bargained for.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Little Spy, March 4 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
If you were to look at Harriet M. Welsh you would see a fairly ordinary girl, but she is not. She is a spy. Every day after school she takes her notebook and goes on a route that takes her through the city. She makes stops on this route and every stop she records everything that she sees, hears, and does in her notebook. She not only does that, but in particular she looks in on people's lives at the certain stops that she makes, in other words spying. She has never been caught. Harriet takes her notebook everywhere with her and records everything. One day Harriet goes to school and discovers that when she looks to find her notebook it is not with her but her best friends. They read everything that she has written in the notebook and some of the things are about them, but many of things aren't very nice. Suddenly she feels that the entire classroom has turned against her, and there is nothing she can do. Will the great spy Harriet M. Welsh somehow find a way to sneak out of this corner? You will have to read this book to find out.
I think that this book is stuffed with great details and descriptions of the world that the characters are living in and of the characters themselves. It had an ending that was unexpected and very unique in its own way. I think that this book overall was wonderful and I highly recommend it to all that are capable of reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read over and over through the years, March 9 2003
By 
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Hardcover)
When I was in fifth grade, Harriet The Spy came into movie theaters. My teacher had posters of the movie in the classroom, and everytime I walked to the restroon, I'd look at it. It looked like it'd be good, so I decided to see it. I LOVED it.
Almost immeadielty I bought the book, and loved it even more. What I loved most about the book and movie was that Harriet was so sly, yet determinted to know everything, everything and work on her long-term goal to become a writer.
I loved watching and reading about her observations recorded in her little compostion notebooks. I became so obessed with Harriet The Spy that I myself became an eleven-year-old spy. I got a notebook that was the same as the one in the movie (which was not easy, those flexible comp notebooks are HARD to find), wrote PRIVATE on the front cover, and created my own spy route. I'd spy on neighbors, family, even friends! And best of all I NEVER got caught! The best part was writing in my notebook and proudly stating no else could read it.
I've always wanted to become a writer, so being a spy in 5th-6th grades was so much fun. I even had the whole spy getup on, the belt with all the tools I'd need. The only thing I didn't like about the belt was the fact that running with the notebook under it was very uncomfortable, and it dug into my stomach, lol! Poor Michelle (Harriet) must have been in such pain whenever they did takes with the book under her belt!
Anyway, both the book and movie have inspired me to become a writer. I highly doubt I would have taken a more serious interest in writing if it were not for this movie/book. Of course now I no longer spy, (I stopped after sixth grade because it apparently caused some controversy with family and friends) but I still keep notebooks/journals/diaries whatever you want to call them, and I LOVE to write stories and poems. No matter how old I get, I'll ALWAYS, AWLAYS love Harriet The Spy. :0)
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5.0 out of 5 stars My Adventures Inside the Book "Harriet the Spy"., Jan. 6 2003
By 
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Hardcover)
When I first read the book "Harriet the Spy", I really liked it. I have been reading it ever since.
I have always been obsessed with writing, I still am (I am working on my 9th diary currently), but this book encouraged me even more. I also have been wanting to be a spy all my life...well, actually, for about a year. I officially claimed to be an official spy on the day of my 13th birthday (I am 14 now). But I don't just keep a "notebook" or call it one at that, I keep all sorts of diaries, and I call them diaries too. But I think that I am going to write in a lot of "notebooks" and call them diaries, thanks to Harriet. She's my heroine!! By the way, just because a book has "unacceptable" things in it, doesn't mean that it's not acceptable to someone else. ; > *Freakout.* OH MY GOSH! A BOOK HAS SOMETHING I DON'T LIKE IN IT! THAT'S NOT RIGHT! AHHH!! (The capital letters are not true for me by the way.)
Harriet the Spy is a really good book. EVERYONE should read it!!!!!!!!!!! : )
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5.0 out of 5 stars Harriet and the Night-Time Sky, Feb. 5 2002
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
When I was ten years old, my teacher was Mrs Stanley.
Mrs Stanley (like all great teachers) refused to teach us what she was told to teach us. Instead she taught us what she felt we ought to know. One of the things she felt we ought to know was "Harriet the Spy."
Harriet the Spy is Harriet M. Welsh, a little girl who keeps a notebook in which she writes thoughts and observations about her friends and the people around her. She also has a spy route made up of six or seven houses she passes on the way to and from school each day. She writes about the houses on her spy route in the notebook each day also.
As a kid, you can understand the desire to peer in windows and you can share Harriet's frustration with grown-ups, what they say, what they don't say, all that. As a kid, you share the sense of isolation visited upon Harriet when her notebook falls out of her bag and is read by all the people in her class. You also share the good times and the laughs, of which there are many, with her. When you are a kid, you read "Harriet the Spy" and it's the story of a little girl whose world falls apart for a little while and then appears to be on the mend.
Years later, I read the book again (sort of glimpsed through half-closed eyes, thinking: this will not be as good as I remembered). You know what? It is every bit as good reading the book as a (so-called) adult as it was reading the book as a kid. Since then I get through "Harriet the Spy" at least once a year. It has become a kind of tradition with me. My little girl is even named after her.
"Harriet the Spy" is a golden classic. There are not many books like this. The five star rule goes out of the window. Other books you can measure with stars. Harriet the Spy is like the night-time sky. There are too many stars to count.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Spy named Harriet, Jan. 24 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
"Could Ole Golly have a family, how could she have a mother and a father? She is too old." Harriet the Spy by L. Fitzhugh takes place in Harriet's neighborhood. Harriet writes about her nanny Ole Golly mostly. Harriet is the protagonist who wants to be a writer when she grows up she writes mean things about her friends and family. Later on she looses her notebook. Will her friends find her notebook and the mean things she wrote about them?
Harriet the spy is funny and intriguing book because it makes you want to read it. The author shows this book to be intriguing because a 10 year old girl is sneaking into peoples houses and writing about them in her note book. You should read this book because it is descriptive. The author shows that because you can see an image of her sneaking into people's houses. You also should read this book because the style of the story is creative. The author shows that it is creative by using dialogue, things she wrote in her notebook, and even letters which help the reader understand the story better.
Now you have read the reasons and explanations, get out of your chair and read this book!
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Harriet the Spy" is an adolscent must read!, Oct. 3 2001
By 
Lindsay (Rexburg, Idaho) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
Harriet M. Welsch, current spy and future world-famous author, is in trouble. Her secret spy notebook has been read by her classmates and now they all hate her, even her best friends, Sport and Janie. Her beloved nanny, Ole Golly, has moved away. Harriet is alone. Not even her daily spy route can help her to escape the reality of the situation because she has been caught--the worst thing that can ever happen to a spy. What is she going to do?
Before, life was good for Harriet. She ate a tomato sandwich every day for lunch. Ole Golly was there to talk to and to freely share advice. She played Town with Sport and helped Janie with her bizarre science experiements. Even awful Marion Hawthorne and her sidekick, Beth Ellen Hansen, were managable. But as soon as her notebook got found and read by her classmates, Harriet's world was turned upside-down. "They are out to get me," Harriet wrote in her notebook. "The whole room is filled with mean eyes. I won't get through the day. I might throw up my tomato sandwich. ...They may think I am a weakling but a spy is trained for this kind of fight. I am ready for them."
And so Harriet M. Welsch, undefeatable spy, sets out to seek justice, and, if necessary, revenge.
This is a delightful and entertaining story to read. Harriet's notebook excerps are hilarious and help to demonstrate the confusing world of a maturing adolescent. Although the odds are against her, Harriet doesn't let it keep her down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Harriet the Spy" is an adolescent must-read!, Oct. 3 2001
By 
Lindsay (Rexburg, Idaho) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
Harriet M. Welsch, current spy and future world-famous author, is in trouble. Her secret spy notebook has been read by her classmates and now they all hate her, even her best friends, Sport and Janie. Her beloved nanny, Ole Golly, has moved away. Harriet is alone. Not even her daily spy route can help her to escape the reality of the situation because she has been caught--the worst thing that can ever happen to a spy. What is she going to do?
Before, life was good for Harriet. She ate a tomato sandwich every day for lunch. Ole Golly was there to talk to and to freely share advice. She played Town with Sport and helped Janie with her bizarre science experiments. Even awful Marion Hawthorne and her sidekick, Beth Ellen Hansen, were managable. But as soon as her notebook got found and read by her classmates, Harriet's world was turned upside-down. "They are out to get me," Harriet wrote in her notebook. "The whole room is filled with mean eyes. I won't get through the day. I might throw up my tomato sandwich. ...They may think I am a weakling, but a spy is trained for this kind of fight. I am ready for them."
And so Harriet M. Welsch, undefeatable spy, sets out to seek justice, and, if necessary, revenge.
This is a delightful and entertaining story to read. Harriet's notebook excerps are hilarious and help to demonstrate the confusing world of a maturing adolescent. Although the odds are against her, Harriet doesn't let it keep her down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Harriet the Spy" is an adolescent must-read!, Oct. 3 2001
By 
Lindsay (Rexburg, Idaho) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
Harriet M. Welsch, current spy and future world-famous author, is in trouble. Her secret spy notebook has been read by her classmates and now they all hate her, even her best friends, Sport and Janie. Her beloved nanny, Ole Golly, has moved away. Harriet is alone. Not even her daily spy route can help her to escape the reality of the situation because she has been caught--the worst thing that can ever happen to a spy. What is she going to do?
Before, life was good for Harriet. She ate a tomato sandwich every day for lunch. Ole Golly was there to talk to and to freely share advice. She played Town with Sport and helped Janie with her bizarre science experiments. Even awful Marion Hawthorne and her sidekick, Beth Ellen Hansen, were managable. But as soon as her notebook got found and read by her classmates, Harriet's world was turned upside-down. "They are out to get me," Harriet wrote in her notebook. "The whole room is filled with mean eyes. I won't get through the day. I might throw up my tomato sandwich. ...They may think I am a weakling, but a spy is trained for this kind of fight. I am ready for them."
And so Harriet M. Welsch, undefeatable spy, sets out to seek justice, and, if necessary, revenge.
This is a delightful and entertaining story to read. Harriet's notebook excerps are hilarious and help to demonstrate the confusing world of a maturing adolescent. Although the odds are against her, Harriet doesn't let it keep her down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My most-read book from my childhood, June 4 2001
By 
This review is from: Harriet the Spy (Paperback)
Like most of the reviewers here, I'm a 30-year old Mom who read "Harriet the Spy", like, a thousand years ago. I rememeber I read it so much, the spine broke in half; and much like Harriet's beloved spy sneakers, I rescued that pathetic book from my Mom's attempts to throw it away. Harriet is a young girl who dreams of being a spy like Mata Hari, and takes her beloved journal with her everywhere she goes. She has a regular "spy route" (one person lives in an old house, and Harriet spies on her by breaking in and jumping in an old, unused dumbwaiter). As she spies, Harriet writes down all her thoughts and feelings of what she witnesses. Unfortunately, she also has a habit of writing down any feelings or thoughts, good and bad, about her classmates and her 2 best friends, Janie and "Sport". During a game of hide-and-seek, Harriet misplaces her notebook and is horrified to see all her friends reading it. I felt genuinely sorry for Harriet as she watched her friends and classmates torment her in class, and even formed "The Spy-Catchers Club" in retaliation for some of the nasty comments Harriet's notebook said about them. Poor, poor Harriet. I remember wishing I could jump in that book and give her a hug. To make matters worse, Harriet's beloved nanny Ole Golly, who has been with Harriet since infancy and is the only adult (in Harriet's opinion) who truly understands kids, is leaving her to get married. Harriet is left to make some hard choices, one of which entails swallowing her pride and facing her friends. I ended up buying a new copy of this book when my daughter was born, and I've read a chapter to her each night every 3 months or so. I'm hoping she comes to appreciate this story as much as I have.
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Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (Paperback - May 8 2001)
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