Synopses & Reviews
Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?
A groundbreaking book in its unflinchingly honest portrayal of childhood dilemmas,
Harriet the Spy remains one of the most acclaimed children's novels ever written.
Harriet continues to be one of the most unforgettable and outrageous characters in children's literature.
About the Author
Louise Fitzhugh (1928–1974) was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She attended Bard College, studied art in Italy and France, and continued her studies in New York at the Art Students League and at Cooper Union. Her books Harriet the Spy, The Long Secret, and Sport have been acclaimed as milestones of children’s literature. These classics delight readers year after year.
Reading Group Guide
In Harriet the Spy, Sport says, "My father says you have to catch the readers attention right at first and then hold it." How does Fitzhugh capture the readers attention in the first chapter? Discuss whether the three companion novels capture the readers attention in the same way.
- Contrast Harriets relationship with her family to Sports and Beth Ellens relationships with their families. Neither Sport nor Beth Ellen has a mother at home. Discuss how Mrs. Welsch is both present and absent in Harriets life.
- Who do you think knows Harriet better, Ole Golly or Harriets parents? What does Harriet mean when she says Ole Golly "made herself felt in the house?" What does Harriet miss most about Ole Golly when she leaves? Who do you think knows you best? Whom do you know best?
- Mr. and Mrs. Welsch fire Ole Golly when she goes on a date with Mr. Waldenstein and takes Harriet with her. Discuss why Harriets parents feel that Ole Gollys behavior is "outlandish." Explain why Mrs. Welsch changes her mind and says, "You cant leave. What would we do without you?" Why does Ole Golly feel that the time has come for her to leave?
- Ole Golly says to Harriet, "Life is a struggle and a good spy gets in there and fights." How does Harriet need this advice when The Spy Catcher Club turns on her?
- Harriet hates it when Ole Golly tells her that she isnt thinking. Discuss how Harriet has matured because she realizes that she must do something for Ole Golly. Why is the ability to think essential for a good spy?