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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Walden Pond Press presents... HARRIET SPIES by Elana K. Arnold - REVIEW

Once upon a time, there was a young precocious girl just trying to find her way, discover herself, and maybe make a few friends along the way. That girl, and perhaps several shades of her, resides in us all, but today, her name is Harriet. Just Harriet made the introductions (check out my review here), but summer is a definite length of time, and there's all sorts of things a curious kid like Harriet could get up to...or even blamed for. Ready or not, let's join a  Walden Pond Press tour already in progress, as we take a closer look at...

Harriet Spies 
Elana K. Arnold
Walden Pond Press 

About the book...
There are a few more things you should know about Harriet Wermer:

*She always tells the truth.
*She’s loving spending her summer on Marble Island, where she is an A+ mystery-solver.

Okay, maybe she doesn’t always tell the truth.

Actually...she has a tendency to lie quite a bit.

Which is why, when one of the guests at her grandmother’s bed-and- breakfast finds that their treasured pair of binoculars has gone missing, no one believes Harriet when she said she had nothing to do with it.

But this is one time Harriet isn’t lying—and she knows that if she can find the binoculars and figure out who really took them, she can prove it.

With her cat, Matzo Ball, her grandmother’s basset hound, Moneypenny, and Harriet’s new friend, Clarence, helping her out, Harriet knows she can crack the case. But when the culprit isn’t who Harriet expects, it’s up to her to decide how important the truth really is.

JUST HARRIET and HARRIET SPIES are published by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.


Oh my goodness, it was such fun catching up with Harriet, Nanu, Moneypenny, and Matzo Ball! It was like we never left the island at all. Good thing too because there are a few new faces to learn this time around, and having an established friend always makes me introductions THAT much easier. 

Harriet, our darling girl, is making a space for herself among the regulars, carving out her niche, and making it her own. She's got her own hideaway (a great thinking spot for troubled times), her own voice (which can sometimes be the cause of those troubled times), and her own style (overalls do in fact go with everything).  Now, she's growing her circle of friends beyond the furry set, as we get to know Clarence. He's a fine chap, seems upstanding enough, and perhaps a good influence on our wonderfully outspoken Harriet. Grant it, he's also the prime suspect in a theft of sorts, but investigations 🔎  conclude who the real culprit was... even if Harriet tried to paint things another way. 

I can honestly say, I get the lessons the author was conveying, and I think younger readers will as well, but I, myself, was outraged on Harriet's behalf a time or two! We all know what happened to the boy who cried wolf, but seeing it in more modern times, puts a new spin on things. I felt for our wee girl as she tried to uncover the truth, and yet kept having to defend herself to no avail. It all comes together beautifully by book's end, I assure you, but just read it, and tell me your heart doesn't break for her struggles. 

In the end, it was another wonderful romp with friends, both old and new, that reminds us of the joys of summer, the excitement of trying new things, and the importance of and power behind the truth.  Harriet knows this in spades, and while she's trying to be better, there's certainly room to grow,  and she allows herself the space, eventually... something we should allow ourselves as well.



Elana K. Arnold is the award-winning author of many books for children and teens, including Just Harriet, Harriet Spies, The House that Wasn’t There, the Printz Honor winner Damsel, the National Book Award finalist What Girls are Made Of, and the Global Read Aloud selection A Boy Called Bat. She is a member of the faculty at Hamline University’s MFA in writing for children and young adults program, and lives in Huntington Beach, CA, with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of animals. You can find her online at



Dung (pronounced Dzung) Ho was born and raised in Hue citadel, Vietnam, where she studied graphic design at the Arts University. She is the New York Times–bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including Joanna Ho’s Eyes That Kiss in the Corners and Laura Ruby’s Me and Ms. Too. She finds inspiration in nature: the beauty of plants, flowers, and leaves. She also loves to draw interesting characters with unique personalities. She now lives in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. When she’s not drawing, she loves spending time cooking (eating), watching movies, and tending her plants. Visit her at or follow her on Instagram @dunghanhho.


Special thanks to Debbie and the Walden Pond Press team for the chance to bring this tour to you as well as the eARC for review. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now, so click on over to snag your copy today, and be sure to check out the rest of the tour for more bookish fun!

February 6 - Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub

February 8 -  Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers @grgenius

February 9 - Teachers Who Read @teachers_read

February 10 - Maria's Mélange @mariaselke

February 15 - Bluestocking Thinking @bluesockgirl

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!


Elana K Arnold said...

Thank you so much for reading and sharing HARRIET SPIES! It sounds like you love Harriet as much as I do. :)

Gina said...

Oh I certainly do! 😊

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