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Harriet the Spy Paperback – May 8, 2001
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Collection of Five "Who Was" Biographies
In this box set, discover the life and times of five icons of black history and celebrate the difference they made in the world. Hardcover
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
More About the Author
Contemporary social issues figured prominently in much of Fitzhugh's work for children: Bang Bang You're Dead was a 1969 picture book with a strong anti-war message and Nobody's Family Is Going to Change (1975) explored both women's rights and children's rights. Ironically, it became the basis of the Broadway musical The Tap Dance Kid with the book's minor male characters taking a lead role, thereby completely overshadowing Emma, the female protagonist. Needless to say, this happened after Fitzhugh's untimely death in 1974 at the age of 46. After her death, three picture books were also published: I Am Three, I Am Four, and I Am Five.
Top Customer Reviews
Skip ahead 14 years. I reread this book in my local library on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I loved it, but I can understand the qualms expressed by some parents about the book The question is: What is the point of having children read - is it to present them with 2-dimensional models of correct behavior, or else to provoke their thinking, reasoning, and analytical skills? I think it's very telling that a reviewer who gave this book one star literally threw it into the fireplace - this is the type of book that people who hate books burn.
People criticize Harriet for being rude or mean, but I think they are a little off base there. Harriet is a smart 11 year old, but she is an 11 year old just the same. Assigning adult motives and value judgments to her behavior is flat-out unfair. She's just a kid, and this is how kids behave, not when you're around, but on the playground and in the classroom where they are discovering peer interaction.
In fact, this is a very moral story. Harriet learns that there are reasons for lying - it isn't being hypocritical (as adults often do seem to children) but rather to spare other peoples' feelings - sometimes it's better to be kind than to be truthful.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
GREAT BOOK. I remember it as a child. Came in a timely manner.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I remembered reading and loving this book as a child, and I recently purchased it for my soon-to-be 10 year old niece. Read morePublished 1 month ago by a viewer
This book was a lot of fun. My daughter really liked it. I would recommend it. So that's it, I have to say 20 words.Published 2 months ago by Andy
I read this as a child but now re-read it as an adult and I don't remember it being anything like I thought! I thought I'd loved the book when I was young. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Heather
Harriet the Spy was my favorite book as a child. It brings back childhood memories. And now I have an opportunity to share it with my family.Published 3 months ago by Angela K Sims
Eleven-year-old Harriet Welsch prides herself on her observation skills. Each day, she goes on a "route" after school, spying on various neighborhood residents and writing... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joanna M
You can read a book several times as a kid and come back to it as an adult and have it become something completely different. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer