This bumper edition of Francesca Simon’s Horrid Henry tales gave us a neat, complete short story at bedtime for many nights.
The stories certainly didn’t disappoint Toby who despite being familiar with most of them through the TV version still drew great delight from hearing them read to him once again, regularly finishing off some of the sentences!
Francesca Simon’s writing is incredibly tight and some of her plot lines would work just as well in a prime time sitcom.
The characters, though grossly exaggerated, still possess traits that we can relate to either in ourselves or others.
The book’s eponymous hero, a creation to instil the fear in many a parent, manages to be likeable despite his many visible flaws and the endless mischief and scrapes he gets himself into.
He’s also a bit of an underdog. His bad behaviour has led him to be mistrusted and disliked by all and sundry, so for that reason you can’t help root for him. The world viewed through Henry’s eyes is sometimes a baffling and restrictive place full of rules that are begging to be challenged.
Juxtaposed against his well-behaved brother Perfect Peter, Henry is the one you warm to (maybe a little secretly if you’re the parent), and you realise that just sometimes exceptional manners and extreme obedience are a little over-rated. Horrid Henry certainly reminds me to nag a little less!
Most children sit somewhere in between Peter and Henry on the spectrum of behaviour – thankfully.
But what Horrid Henry does so successfully is get inside kids’ heads and give permission feel better about being themselves, while allowing them to fantasise about ripping up the rule book. And it’s all done with a large dose of fun and laughter.
Horrid Henry is my son’s choice of book and he loves these stories with a great passion. I think if you’re looking for an easy bed-time read either to read to your child or encourage them to read themselves, these books are a great start. They are also the perfect introduction to comedic writing and will make books fun again if you have a reluctant reader or a child who is turned off by reading at school.
Fun factor: 5/5
Fidget factor: 0/5
Fear factor: 0/5
Page turnability: 3/5
Mum’s final score: 8/10 – lots of fun but I’d like to move on to different types of stories soon!
Toby’s final score: 10/10 – these tales have given him so much pleasure!