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Full Name: Harriet Welsch
Nationality: American
Organization: None
Occupation Freelance Agent

Creator: Louise Fitzhugh
Time Span: 1964 - 2010


Harriet Welsch is a freelance agent.

The above is in keeping with my normal practice of identifying in the opening sentence the type of occupation, spy-fi wise, the individual best falls into. Since Welsch is not employed by any organization or company and does what she does because it interests her and she has her own long-term objective, freelance agent seemed most appropriate.

In truth, Welsch is an 11-year old girl attending elementary school while living with her parents in a nice home in the Upper East Side of New York City. That is a pretty high-end area of Manhattan largely consisting of upscale brownstones and shows right away that Welsch's parents were quite well off financially. This means that young Harriet is not in need of anything materially; emotionally is a different matter since her parents are largely absent most of the time off doing their own things. Rearing little Harriet falls then most to her nanny Catherine, whom she thinks of as 'Ole Golly'.

Harriet becomes a "spy" because she has a desire to grow up to be a writer and Ole Golly tells her to start practicing. To Harriet this means jotting down notes and observations in a notebook she will habitually carry. To give her something interesting to put in that notebook, she begins to walk a "spy route" each afternoon, observing her classmates, her family, and the people in the neighborhood. Who they were, what they did, how they seemed to interact - these were the tidbits that started to fill the journal as the more she saw, the more she became intrigued by little things and worked hard to learn the whys of the whats.


Number of Books:5
First Appearance:1964
Last Appearance:2005

1 Harriet The Spy Harriet The Spy
Written by Louise Fitzhugh
Copyright: 1964

Harriet the Spy wants to be a writer. She decides to start observing things and people and events in her neighborhood in New York City's Upper East Side and she jots down what she sees and thinks in a notebook. When classmates get a look at what she has written, things get testy.
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2 The Long Secret The Long Secret
Written by Louise Fitzhugh
Copyright: 1965

When someone in the vacation beach town of Water Mill starts leaving disturbing notes around the village, Harriet the Spy is determined to find out who is doing it. She pulls in her friend, meek little Beth Ellen, into all the scrapes and dangers as so goes.
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3 Scout Scout
Written by Louise Fitzhugh
Copyright: 1979

Scout Rocque is a friend of Harriet the Spy. When his parents divorce, he lives with his father who is determined to be a writer. It is up to 11-year-old Scout to manage their finances. That becomes tricky when his grandfather leaves him an inheritance of $30 million, especially when his mother returns and kidnaps him for the loot.
Note: this is a companion book to the series and not a sequel.
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4 Harriet Spies Again Harriet Spies Again
Written by Helen Ericson
Copyright: 2002

Harriet the Spy is thrilled that her former nanny, Ole Golly, is coming back to watch her but she wonders what happened to the woman's husband. And who is the mysterious new neighbor who just moved in. Lots of spying to be done.

5 Harriet The Spy, Double Agent Harriet The Spy, Double Agent
Written by Maya Gold
Copyright: 2005

Harriet the Spy is thrilled to have a new friend in Annie Smith, especially when she learns that Smith have three other identities, Rosarita Sauvage, Yolanda Montezuma, and Zoe Carpaccio, as well as unique personalities for each. Then, however, things get mysterious when Harriet realizes her friend is not only telling much about herself, some of what she is saying might not be the truth.
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Number of Movies:1
First Appearance:1996
Last Appearance:2010

1 Harriet the Spy Harriet the Spy
Director: Bronwen Hughes
Writers: Greg Taylor, Julie Talen, Douglas Petrie, Theresa Rebeck
Actors: Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet Welsch, Gregory Smith as Scout, Rosie O'Donnell as Ole Golly
Released: 1996

According to IMDB: "Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. But when her friends find her secret notebook the tables are turned on her. Can she win her friends back and still keep on going with the spy business?"

2 Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars
Director: Ron Oliver
Writers: Alexandra Clarke, Heather Conkie
Actors: Jennifer Stone as Harriet Welsch, Kristin Booth as Golly, Alexander Conti as Sport
Released: 2010

According to IMDB: "Young spy Harriet Welsch crosses paths with popular student Marion Hawthorne as the two girls vie to become the official blogger of their high school class."


       According to as of August, 2020: "Apple TV+ will breathe new life into Louise Fitzhugh’s 1964 children’s book with Harriet the Spy, the first animated adaptation of the iconic children’s novel. The series will star Beanie Feldstein in the titular role, along with Jane Lynch and Lacey Chabert.
       Written by The Adventures of Pete & Pete co-creator Will McRobb based on Fitzhugh’s book, the newly greenlighted Harriet the Spy is the latest addition to the streamer’s slate of original content for children.
       Harriet the Spy centers on a curious 11-year-old (Beanie Feldstein) who seeks to learn everything about anything in order to pursue her dreams of becoming a professional writer. Lynch will voice the girl’s nanny, Ole Golly, and Chabert will play popular girl Marion Hawthorne."


I got a chuckle out of myself when I decided to include this series in this compendium. The reasoning was pretty straightforward. Here was a series of books and movies about someone considered by everyone to be a spy. It obviously fit but at the same time definitely did not. She was for the most part an innocent snoop. Well, then when her snooping became known and she felt the heat from the prying, then she started to get into the whole spying thing less innocently.

Does Harriet the Spy belong in this collection. Nope! And yep!

Oh, the grade is because of its significance in the world of young adult reading. It was a stand-out back when it first arrived on the shelves at bookstores and libraries and has stood the test of time by still being around just shy of six decades later.


My Grade: B+


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