I remember reading Harriet the Spy as a kid being fascinated by it, and thinking how true it was to school life. This past month when I assigned Harriet the Spy to the kids as our next book and a movie I read it as an adult and was apalled at the behaviors of most adults in her life. Her parents weren’t parents in any active sense, her teachers were oblivious to what was going on (in the book it’s more understandable, but in the movie it is clear what is happening).
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Harriet is a young girl who aspires of being a writer, so she writes everything down, EVERYTHING. Every day she goes out and spies on people, writing down what she observes. This all is going well until one day people get her notebook and read it. What she wrote was not the nicest things about people, they were true, but they weren’t phrased nicely. Instantly everyone turns on her, and she has no friends at school. Harriet could have survived that, but at the same time her live-in nanny, Golly, leaves to get married.
She finally gets it all together in the end, but it’s a fascinating tale of tween life.
We watched two versions of the Harriet the Spy movies, first a Nickelodeon movie, Harriet the Spy (Nickelodeon had several great kids movies based on books during this time, also see Holes), and a really terrible version called Harriet the Spy: Blog Wars (don’t hurt your brain watching it).
Harriet the Spy movie night snacks
We had a fun combination of snacks based on important details from the book, and some great snacks related to spies, but most of our snacks related to details from the book. It was filled with great ideas.
- Egg cream– this is apparently a New York drink that was very popular at the time the book was written, my kids were not impressed, but they all duitfully tried it. You pour in a small amount of whole milk, some chocolate syrup, and then seltzer water and stir rapidly. It’s best when consumed within a few minutes of making so it doesn’t go flat. Unfortunately the first kid who made their drink didn’t securely close the drinks, so the seltzer went fast quickly.
- Tomato sandwich– Harriet only eats tomato sandwiches, ours are made with ‘Nilla Wafers and cookie frosting (in retrospect, I’d just make normal frosting because it wouldn’t have made as big of a mess, but I had the cookie frosting on hand)
- Notebooks– obviously, she carried her everywhere. It’s our traditional graham cracker covered in marshmallow fluff with melted chocolate chip writing
- steak and asparagus– the last meal Harriet and Golly had together, right before everything went bad
- clubhouse– a key plot point for once everything went horrible, we used a mini gingerbread house cookie cutters to make them and of course a gingerbread recipe.
- dance shoes– because at one point it was threatened she would have to take dance lessons. They are nutter butters (I’m thinking I might switch to buying this kind, while it costs more we don’t use the entire box for one movie, and this will keep the unused cookies still fresh) dipped in pink candy melts. I kinda overdid the candy melts, so it didn’t dip very well.
- Wedding rings– I really wanted to find some circular pretzels (this pack is nice because it has all the types of pretzels I use in small stay fresh packs, otherwise I end up with three open packs) for wedding rings, but instead we melted bits of hershey bars (only because I didn’t have Rolos on hand) on the square pretzels with M&M diamonds.
And our lone just because she’s a spy:
More 4th Grade books made into a movie for you to read and watch