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Harriet the Spy
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, even though Harriet is nosy, she thinks a lot of unkind thoughts, and she's also sneaky, stubborn, and is self-absorbed, these very qualities only serve to make her more real and, ultimately, lovable. Kids love her independent thinking and outspoken ways. This is a wonderful story for kids who have ever felt excluded before -- and that's just about every kid.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Harriet's in trouble when her classmates read about themselves in her secret notebook. When they start a Spy Catchers' Club -- and guess who's not invited to join -- Harriet turns to her nanny for help. Kids might not like the idea of Harriet writing about them, but they'll certainly enjoy reading what she has to say about everybody in her world!
Is it any good?
This book is honest in its portrayal of the desperation and loneliness Harriet feels -- first, when her nanny leaves her and, later, when her friends turn against her. Girls, in particular, will identify with Harriet's strong drive to be true to herself in this longtime children's favorite.
Best of all, while HARRIET THE SPY deals with tough problems, such as how to deal with peer rejection and how to carry on without a beloved friend, it also manages, thanks to author Louise Fitzhugh's keen sense of the ridiculous, to be cheerful and often hilarious. Readers may even be inspired to start keeping their own notebooks -- though they shouldn't be so zealous as she is.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the benefits of recording your thoughts and observations about the world around you in a journal that's meant for your eyes only. Are there things you'd write down on paper privately that you'd never say in public?
If someone did happen to find your notebook and read it, would there be things in it that might hurt other people? How would you explain your actions?
What other girl detective stories have you read? Why do you think they're so popular?