Horrid Henry is back...and he's as horrid as ever. Francesca Simon's beloved U.K. children's series -- which is illustrated by Tony Ross -- has been released in the U.S. by Sourcebooks. The Girl and I reviewed four of the Horrid Henry books earlier this year, and we were excited to be part of the latest blog tour for Horrid Henry's Underpants and Horrid Henry and the Scary Sitter. Each book contains four hilarious stories about the biggest troublemaker I've ever read in a children's book. Here's a rundown of the stories:
In Horrid Henry's Underpants:
"Horrid Henry Eats a Vegetable" -- Horrid Henry's parents always wish he was like his younger brother, Perfect Peter. Peter loves vegetables -- even more than candy. To persuade Henry to eat his vegetables, his parents bribe him. If he eats all of his vegetables every day for five days, they'll take him to his favorite restaurant, complete with greasy fried foods and televisions. Of course, Henry has no plans to eat his vegetables, and he goes beyond the stick-them-in-your-napkin routine I pulled as a kid.
"Horrid Henry's Underpants" -- This is the funniest story in the two books, and of course, kids will get a kick out of the use of the word "underpants" in the title and throughout the story. Henry's great aunt has always thought he was a girl named Henny, and she sends him a gift -- frilly, flowery girl underpants. Unfortunately for Henry, he accidentally wears them to school on a day when he overslept, and he has to figure out how to get rid of them before the kids in his class find out.
"Horrid Henry's Sick Day" -- Horrid Henry doesn't like that Perfect Peter is sick and staying home from school. He'd rather stay home and watch tv, too, so he pretends to be sick. His plan backfires when his parents fall ill, and they need some TLC. Of course, Henry doesn't want to help.
"Horrid Henry's Thank You Letter" -- Horrid Henry, the greedy, rude child that he is, obviously has better things to do than write thank you letters for the Christmas gifts he received. After all, he doesn't like most of them. So why should he thank the giver? Henry decides to write some "No, thank you" letters, and figuring that people would pay for his services, he takes on the job of writing "thank you" letters for his classmates. I bet you can imagine how well that turns out.
"Horrid Henry Tricks and Treats" -- Henry does a horrid, horrid thing to Perfect Peter and is forced to stay home with his father while his mother and Peter go trick-or-treating. But when Henry's classmates ring the bell and show up with their bulging bags of candy, Henry has no intention of missing out on the goodies -- especially since his parents are passing out fruit and walnuts as treats.
"Horrid Henry and the Scary Sitter" -- It's understandable why Henry's parents can't find a babysitter willing to watch Henry more than once. Henry is outraged when his parents hire Rabid Rebecca, who expects the boys to be in their pajamas and ready for bed hours before their usual bedtime. But even though Rebecca is mean and wants the children out of her sight so she can watch ballroom dancing, Henry won't give up until he has her trained -- giving him rule of the house.
"Horrid Henry's Raid" -- Horrid Henry and Perfect Peter's Purple Hand fort is raided by Moody Margaret and Sour Susan, who insist Henry is responsible for emptying the cookie tin in their Secret Club tent. Thus begins a back-and-forth battle to annihilate their enemies' clubhouses.
"Horrid Henry's Car Journey" -- Horrid Henry would rather attend Rude Ralph's birthday party than the christening of his baby cousin, Vomiting Vera. So he decides to make the long car trip unbearable for his parents in the hopes that they will turn around and let him attend the birthday party.
Horrid Henry and his antics are amusing to a point. He truly is the brattiest kid I've ever seen in a children's book, and his actions are funny because they are so outrageous. However, after reading eight stories of Henry is his horrible glory, I was exhausted and so thankful that my daughter is well behaved and genuinely kind. I understand that the books are supposed to be funny, but it bothers me that Henry's parents will tell him to stop being horrid and sometimes even send him to his room without doing much else to change his attitude or his behavior. Some of the things he does are downright unacceptable and truly mean, and while some of his actions backfire, sometimes there are no consequences.
Yet at the same time, the Horrid Henry books are meant to be funny, ridiculous, and entertaining. If your child, like mine, is mature enough to separate entertainment from appropriate "real life" behavior, that's great. Because you certainly wouldn't want your kids getting any ideas from Horrid Henry! While reading these books, The Girl would say "Uh, oh, he's going to be in trouble" or "Henry's really mean" or "I'd never do that. I'd be grounded forever." I thought her reactions were funny, and they also made me happy that at least I've successfully taught her right from wrong.
After we finished the books, she went upstairs to jot down her thoughts. When I read her review, I just about died laughing. Here are The Girl's (age 9) thoughts on the books:
Perfect Peter is perfect, but I think he's a little tattletale. My favorite story was "Horrid Henry's Underpants." His aunt thinks he is a girl so she gets him girly underwear. My favorite part was when he couldn't get dressed for gym because he was going commando, and the teacher said it was his lucky day because she found some spare underwear in the boy's bathroom, and it's the same underwear he started out with. I don't like how Henry gets away with everything. I think he should be punished until he's in college.
Sourcebooks, I have a copy of Horrid Henry and The Mummy's Curse to give away.
I put The Girl in charge of the rules for this giveaway, and because Halloween is coming soon, she wants you to leave a comment telling her your biggest fear. Please make sure to include your e-mail address with your comment.
Since the publisher is handling shipping, this giveaway is restricted to the United States. The giveaway will end Sunday, Nov. 8 at 11:59 EST.
Disclosure: We received free copies of Horrid Henry's Underwear and Horrid Henry and the Scary Sitter from Sourcebooks for review purposes.