Horrid Henry– Horrid Enough to Hook Reluctant Boys

Horrid Henry is a truly horrid child.  He does all the things grown-ups disdain.  He torments his brother, Perfect Peter.  (“Do you want to be free from the mummy’s curse?” Henry asks Peter after he’s wrapped him in toilet paper.  “Then you must stand still and be quiet for thirty minutes.”)  He ruins the school theater production by being the runaway raindrop.  He strategically plucks the stakes out from all the tents at a family campground.  And yet, something about him is appealing.  Even to grown-ups.  To kids– particularly the target audience of 7-10 year-old boys– he’s so outrageous he’s irresistible.  Just look at him.  I mean, who tricks the Tooth Fairy?  I’ve yet to put my finger on why I like him in spite of his utter lack of conscience, but I suspect it’s the way Simon sets up the situations. Like all comic bad boys, Henry is perfectly contrasted against “straight” characters.  His parents often sigh and wonder why they had children.  Perfect Peter is perfect and therefore loathesome.  His controlling theater teacher is fun to unravel.  In one character Henry’s met his match.  His neighbor Moody Margaret won’t be outdone by Henry.

Horrid Henry is appealing too because each of his twenty (!) books contains four short stories. That’s manageable reading for even a stubborn sort of kid.  Manageable and wicked.  What boy doesn’t love that?  Also, illustrator Tony Ross captures Henry’s mischievous hilarity with wobbly-lined genius.  If  a young someone is particularly resistant to reading stories, there are Horrid Henry joke books.  Simon also has a great website for this series.


Road tested titles include:  Horrid Henry, Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s Curse, Horrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend, and Horrid Henry’s Joke Book.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Julie Otte
    Aug 17, 2010 @ 08:11:25

    Horrid Henry sounds really good! Another one we must check out. Keep the suggestions coming, I love them!


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