My brother and I had plenty of naughty moments growing up. We pretended to eat our vitamins and when no one was watching we hid them under the couch. We made up our very own outdoor game, a contest of sorts to see who could throw hunks of wet, muddy dirt the highest onto the side of the house (got into a lot of trouble for that one). We played barbershop and cut off chunks of our hair. Yes, like most children were we full of mischief and pranks, learning our boundaries.
Horrid Henry, the main character in Francesca Simon's book series, is the king of bad behavior. When you think of the naughty kid list of characters, for instance Dennis the Menace, Pippi Longstocking, Bart Simpson, Max from Where the Wild Things Are -- Horrid Henry ranks right up there. And kids love him. Kids like to read about silly, off the wall, absurd characters, the crazier the better. Add some sibling rivalry, boring parents and annoying friends to the mix and you've got a fun read. Just how horrid is Horrid Henry? Well, he picks on his little brother (aptly named "Perfect Peter"), ruins all family camping and hiking trips and pulls plenty of other mischievous stunts much to the dismay of his parents and teachers. He is one out of control child.
Hugely popular and originally published in the UK, the Horrid Henry series is new to America this year. Each book is actually a collection of 4 different short stories, perfect for those with short attention spans and reluctant readers. As far as children's books go, they fit right between early readers and chapter books. Titles currently available in the U.S. include the following four books:
Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross. Sourcebooks (April 2009); 112 pages; ISBN 9781402217753; paperback; Ages 5-10
* Horrid Henry's Perfect Day
* Horrid Henry's Dance Class
* Horrid Henry and Moody Margaret
* Horrid Henry's Holiday
Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross. Sourcebooks (April 2009); 112 pages; ISBN 9781402217807; paperback; Ages 5-10
* Horrid Henry's Hike
* Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine
* Perfect Peter's Revenge
* Horrid Henry Dines at Restaurant Le Posh
Horrid Henry's Stinkbomb by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross. Sourcebooks (April 2009); 112 pages; ISBN 9781402217791; paperback; Ages 5-10
* Horrid Henry Reads a Book
* Horrid Henry's Stinkbomb
* Horrid Henry's School Project
* Horrid Henry Has a Sleepover
Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy by Francesca Simon, illustrated by Tony Ross. Sourcebooks (April 2009); 112 pages; ISBN 9781402222757; paperback; Ages 5-10
* Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy
* Horrid Henry's Wedding
* Moody Margaret Moves In
* Horrid Henry's New Teacher
Two more books are scheduled for release in July: Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s Curse and Horrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend
As a participant in the Horrid Henry blog tour, Sourcebooks sent me the first four titles for review. When I first started reading the books, I thought that each story might have a sort of lesson, that Harry would be checked in some way. No lessons here; he just is downright naughty. Though sometimes the joke is turned on him, and those particular stories are my favorite. For instance, the tooth fairy doesn't fall for his sneaky switch, a sleepover doesn't go his way. In "Horrid Henry Reads a Book", Henry pretends to read and report on a ton of books so that he can win a prize to an adventure park and learns the hard way that some things aren't as they seem. "Horrid Henry Dines at Restaurant Le Posh" made me chuckle with references to tripe and escargots. The illustrations by Tony Ross are right on the mark, comically depicting pointy-nosed adults and disobedient children.
Some parents may be understandably put off by the antics of Harry. When questioned about the rebelliousness of her main character, in an interview with Telegraph.co.uk Simon replied that "We all want to kick against the traces, but Henry is naughty so you don't have to be." I think most children will realize that they shouldn't act as Harry does, but it is still fun to do a little imagining.
Sourcebooks Horrid Henry Website
Francesca Simon - Author Website
Horrid Henry - Official UK Website
Horrid Henry - Facebook
Horrid Henry Teacher’s Guides
Download the Horrid Henry Activity Book
Try the Horrid Henry Maze Game
Glop Recipe Activity
Win a copy! Sourcebooks has kindly offered to give away two full sets of the Horrid Henry series (4 books) as the first prize (2 winners), and three second place winners will receive a copy of Horrid Henry.
The characters in the Horrid Henry books have alliterative adjective names that describe them (Perfect Peter, Moody Margaret, Prissy Polly, Rude Ralph, Beefy Bert, Greedy Graham and my favorite, Boudicca Battle-Axe). To enter, think of a name for a Horrid Henry character you'd like to see in the series, and leave it in the comment section.
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4):
• Contest is open to US and Canada only
• Contest ends on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winner will be chosen at random and sent an email notification.
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2nd extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
3rd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.