The 50th anniversary edition (issued on Feb. 25) includes a new map of Harriet's neighborhood and spy route as well as tributes from 14 well-known writers including Judy Blume and Lois Lowry.
As I read this novel again (my fifth time?), I was reminded that Fitzhugh drew each of the book's illustrations. I think these sketches perfectly capture the personalities and nuances of Harriet, her friends Sport and Janie, and the other characters she observes on her spy route, such as Ole Golly, Mrs. Plumber and Harrison Withers.
I was a tomboy growing up and loved the fact that Harriet didn't dress like a girl. Her spy uniform consisted of rolled-up baggy jeans, a belt (to which she attached her flashlight, leather pouch for her notebook, extra pens, canteen and a multi-faceted Boy Scout knife), a hooded sweatshirt and tennis shoes. She was clearly the second smartest character in the book. This includes the adults.
Harriet is an inspiring writer who displays enviable confidence and competence as she navigates her solo spy route and records her many thoughts and observations in her notebook. She is a bold individual who doesn't apologize for her honesty, characteristics that didn't always draw rave reviews from 1964 critics.
For more Harriet information, visit: http://www.harrietthespybooks.com
Bonnie L. Frank
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