HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Horrid Henry, by Francesca Simon | Book Review
Horrid Henry Illustration Tony Ross

Horrid Henry, by Francesca Simon | Book Review

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: April 10, 2009

Horrid HenryHorrid Henry

by Francesca Simon (Author) and Tony Ross (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 7 – 10

Paperback: 112 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (April 1, 2009)

What to expect: Behavior and brothers.

Henry was horrid.

Everyone said so, even his mother. …

Wow! Francesca Simon really knows kids! Clever, witty, and horribly hilarious, Horrid Henry, the first book in an excellent series for young readers, is everything it should be. From the sometimes revolting-but-captivating stories, the large-sized text, the illustrations included on almost every page … this is what reluctant readers have been waiting for.

My only question about this series is, why are we only just getting it here in the US when it is fast approaching sales of 12 million copies in the UK, it has a TV show, has been translated into 25 languages, and an American author (note: Francesca Simon lives in the UK)? Better late than never!

Every book in the series is made up of four short stories. Simon has developed Henry’s awful character in a way that you can’t help to love him and feel sorry for him. It’s human nature to take pity on the character who appears to be the underdog, and in the first story Henry is perceived as the underdog — hence an immediate attachment between Henry and the reader. The stories alternate between underdog (though always remaining true to his unpleasant nature) and downright horrid little boy (the kind Roald Dahl would be proud of).

Speaking of Roald Dahl … the illustrations are by Tony Ross who, you guessed it, has illustrated books by Roald Dahl — Fantastic Mr. Fox, to name one. The pictures match the words — simple, honest, and completely mischievous.

Publisher’s summary: Horrid Henry causes his brother Perfect Peter all sorts of problems when he behaves properly for a change, upstages Peter at a dance recital, plays pirates, and goes on a camping trip.

If you like the sound of this series, the next installments are Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine, Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy, Horrid Henry’s Stink Bomb, Horrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend, and Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s Curse. Stay tuned for future reviews.

You may also like the following series:

Nicholas in Trouble by Rene Goscinny (Author) Jean-Jacques Sempe (Illustrator), Anthea Bell (Translator)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney

Or, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes might be right up your young readers alley.

Giveaway: Thanks to the publisher of the Horrid Henry series, Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, I have five copies of a one story Horrid Henry chapter book to give away to five individual lucky winners. Click here for details.

To read what other reviewers are saying about Horrid Henry, take a look at the following websites:

Dolce Bellezza
The Reading Tub
Bobbi’s Booknook
Charlotte’s Library
Abby (the) Librarian
Books for Your Kids
Eva’s Book Addiction
BookLoons
A Childhood of Dreams
L.A. Parent blog ( Review coming soon, 4/13)

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The Children’s Book Review, named one of the ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) Great Web Sites for Kids, is a resource devoted to children’s literacy. We publish reviews and book lists of the best books for kids of all ages. We also produce author and illustrator interviews and share literacy based articles that help parents, grandparents, teachers and librarians to grow readers. This article was written and provided by one of TCBR's regular contributors.

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