Parents' Guide to

Harriet the Spy

By Ashley Moulton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

So-so TV adaptation of classic kid sleuth story.

Harriet the Spy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 6+

Wonderful adaptation of a quirky kids classic!

Harriet the Spy was one of my favorite kids novels growing up and I was excited to share it with my 8 year old daughter last year. We were both thrilled to learn about this animated series which hits all the right notes in presenting Harriet for modern audiences without losing any of the book's original charm. If your kid is quirky, smart, and independent - Harriet M. Welsch will be instantly relatable. She isn't perfect, but she is doing her best in finding the line between being her authentic self and being flexible in understanding and empathizing with the struggles of others. The show has a quiet pace that is reminiscent of PBS Kids shows like Arthur and a similar structure to the classic 90s kids series "The Adventures of Pete & Pete" (which shares a showrunner with Harriet). There is also great music and the show is beautifully illustrated to echo the early 60s vibes of the original. Keeping Harriet as a child of wealthy NYC society may be the producers' one misstep in this recreation, but the parents are much warmer and caring than in the book. Also, while the show never explicitly states it takes place in the 60s, its refreshing that the show is seemingly free of things like cell phones and ipads and video games. Some kids may find that offputting, but it works for us! Hoping that Apple gives this a renewal beyond the originally promised 10 episodes.
age 6+

An entertaining and easy going show

I’d like to consider it as a series that introduces children to more complex stories, where there are situations that are not necessarily black or white. The stories are funny and the little Harriet, even though she is rebel and a bit “difficult”, is a good kid with the dream to be a great writer, that alone is something my kid has valued a lot. The adventures are the kind a kid would like to live even when they know it is not possible so it ignites their imagination. For us, parents, the stories can be something to enjoy with the kids, just for the sake of having a good time.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This just-OK adaptation of the classic kids' book unfortunately feels like it was created by people who are not very plugged into tweens' interests. The first episode follows Harriet's obsession with whether or not a wealthy Upper East Side woman will recover from her mental breakdown in order to launch a doggy-clothing business. Kids who may have been hooked by the premise that a kid could skip school and go on a spy mission may be let down by the unrelatability of her spy subjects. There are some funny moments and clever spy ruses to be sure, but he charm of the book doesn't quite translate here, and so kids who are into sleuth stories will be better served by the original.

TV Details

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