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Heroines in fiction come and go and most of them are soon forgotten. But not Harriet the Spy, 11-year-old whirlwind of precocity and single-minded purpose, who wants to be a famous writer and so to that end keeps a notebook in which she records with brutal honesty her impressions of the world around her. This is a brilliantly written, unsparingly realistic story a superb portrait of an extraordinary child.
Harriet M. Welsch is one of the meatiest heroines in modern juvenile literature. The novel is a tour de force, .... intensely written, involuted, rich in dramatic vignettes and in warm, breathing characters. Harriet suffers growth and change in the best tradition of literature's most anguished heroines. Harriet the spy bursts with life.
From the very beginning this story has a vitality and interest that compel attention. Eleven-year-old Harriet is a superb character. Most modern fictional children and pallid denizens of a dream world compared with this precocious, intense, egocentric and mean child.
A very, very funny and a very, very effective story, the characterizations are marvelously shrewd, the pictures of urban life and the power structure of the sixth grade class are realistic.
A real children's classic. In our opinion it shows quite as much understanding of child behavior as Salinger's Catcher in the Rye and is equally amusing.