Note to self. When gifting a child a book as an impromptu present do not ever say anything like: “guess what I got you today?” The result will only be disappointment when you produce the last ever Horrid Henry book instead of a replica pair of Lionel Messi’s football boots.
I should know better, really. Next time I’ll just say “here, this is for you” and just hand him the book casually, like it was no effort at all. That’s if there is a next time because as you’ve guessed my gift of Horrid Henry’s Cannibal Curse – Francesca Simon’s last ever Horrid Henry book – wasn’t exactly met with bundles of enthusiasm.
“But it’s the last one,” I said. “It has only just been published.”
“I don’t like Horrid Henry anymore.”
Well, he did virtually last week. Life is fast paced when you’re six.
“Oh well, I can take it back if you like.”
Now he’s interested. He inspects it and decides that maybe he does want to read it after all.
“Last one, you say?”
“Yes, Francesca Simon is never going to write any more.”
“And is this the only copy?”
“Mmm sort of.” Ok so that’s a bit of a white lie, but at least he’s interested, right?
So we’re back reading Horrid Henry.
It was Toby who introduced the books and cartoons to me, after reading one of the stories for World Book Day at School, and I gradually began to love Henry as much as Toby does (or did).
I recently discovered that after many years crafting these well-loved stories, Francesca Simon is hanging up her Henry hat to focus on other projects. And after 20 years and almost too many books to count, I think she’s earned that privilege.
She’s still managed to squeeze out one more book for her army of fans, and Cannibal’s Curse was published by Orion in July. I thought it only fitting that I buy this for Toby, who (a few months ago anyway) really enjoyed the series, and has probably read or watched most of the stories.
Although this story is fresh, I suspect that it’s not just the author who’s ready to move on from Henry, and maybe my son has advanced to pastures new too. But we’ll soon find out.