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Harriet the Spy: 50th Anniversary Edition Hardcover – February 25, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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
50th anniversary edition.....Brings so many good childhood memories while reading this in my room with music blasting in the background. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Amelia Santiago
I purchased this book for my 11 year old daughter. She thought it was a very interesting book and it really caught her attention!Published 11 days ago by lisa bauer
My kid loves it. Laughs his head off at Harriet's personality. Language is a bit dated in places/and seems perhaps a bit too complex for her ostensible target audience? Read morePublished 1 month ago by William R.
Harriet the Spy is about a young girl who thinks that she can spy and is going to be a spy or(more probably) a writer. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Catherine Ashby
The CD worked just fine, thank you! My novel study unit will now be better because my students can listen and follow and I can save my voice! 👍Published 3 months ago by Elissa Barnabee
A new favorite of my 9 year old's. Well written & sentimental of my own childhood reading to share with my own daughter.Published 4 months ago by Laura Conklin
Required reading for my fourth graders class. My son says that he loved the story line. I'm looking forward to also reading it if he ever brings it home from school.Published 4 months ago by P. Gray
Very funny book about an observant little girl with a trenchant wit - and the trouble she gets into when her friends find the diary she has been keeping about them! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Joan M. Bouchard