** spoiler alert **
Published in 1964, Harriet the Spy reads as if it were from that era or earlier. It really gIves the impression of being a Depression or post-WWII book, with the delivery “boys” riding bicycles.
Maybe it was because we were approaching the tenth anniversary of 9/11 as I read this, but all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of loss. How long has it been since 6th graders were so innocent? Ten years ago my daughter was in 5th grade. When the Principal came into the classroom to tell them about the World Trade Center she started by saying she had something very serious and very sad to tell them. My daughter said she thought it would be about another school shooting. So the innocence of the characters in Harriet the Spy is definitely from another era.
At the same time, this book deals with issues children face regardless of era: friendship, loyalty, truth, loss. And the “takeaways” about being true to yourself without hurting others certainly are valuable in this Facebook era.
Finally, the copy I read says it is for ages 10 and up and grades 5 and up. Those children today would probably not enjoy Harriet, but younger children still definitely enjoy this book.