Fans of Harriet M. Welsch rejoice: Harriet, Ole Golly, Sport and Cook are back in Helen Ericson's charming companion volume to the late Louise Fitzhugh's classic tale, Harriet the Spy.
First published in 1964, Harriet the Spy has become a staple of children's literature. It introduced a funny, inquisitive and blunt 11-year-old New Yorker named Harriet, whose parents drink cocktails and go to formal parties, leaving her to write candid observations about life in her notebook. Determined to find out all she can about the world, Harriet decides, "I will be a spy and know everything."At the time it was published, the book excited controversy with its realistic treatment of Harriet's turbulent emotional life. Louise Fitzhugh, who first dealt with menstruation in her book The Long Secret (1965), is credited with opening the door to a new era of realistic fiction for young people.
The Fitzhugh estate granted permission to author Helen Ericson to write Harriet Spies Again, and Ericson, a journalist who first read Harriet the Spy at the age of nine, has managed to capture the bespectacled heroine's energy and sparkle. The story opens with Harriet, now 12, making a timeline of the seminal events in her life. Suddenly, her parents announce that they are off to Paris for three months and that former nanny Ole Golly, who married George Waldenstein and moved to Montreal, is returning to take care of Harriet. But, as Harriet soon suspects, all is not well with Ole Golly. Harriet and her friend Sport (household manager extraordinaire) must unravel the mystery of why Ole Golly insists that Mr. Waldenstein's name be expunged from all conversation. There's also a strange, mysterious new girl in the neighborhood, whose passion for intrigue matches Harriet's own. Of course, nothing can replace Harriet the Spy. But a new generation of Harriet's fans will surely be delighted to spy a little longer into the world of Harriet M. Welsch. Deborah Hopkinson's most recent book for children is Under the Quilt of Night, illustrated by James E. Ransome.