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In 1999, 53 percent of children ages 3 to 5 were read to daily by a family member, the same as in 1993 after increasin... More

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Author: Francesca Simon

Illustrator: Tony Ross

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Publisher: Jabberwocky, an Imprint of Sourcebooks, ©2009

Material: paperback

Summary: At every turn, Horrid Henry is frustrated. Life is not fair, and when he's not happy everyone knows it. There is no one - child or adult - that Henry can't outsmart or out-tantrum. Well, except for maybe the tooth fairy. Horrid Henry will go to any length to take control of the uncontrollable, but does it always work? This is a set of short stories for transitional readers and reluctant readers.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, early reader

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 6 to 10

Reading Level: 2.9

Age of Child: Read with a 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter loves Horrid Henry. She wants us to point to the words as we go along, most likely to make sure we aren't skipping anything! She laughs, she makes predictions, and she shouts "oh, no!" a lot. When we got to the last story she grabbed the book to see what other books we need to find to keep reading.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is one of the best transitional reader series I've seen. I love the short-story format and that you finish each one with a sense of suspense: when will we see Moody Margaret next? What about Perfect Peter's revenge. All of the names are alliterative and immediately tell the reader what kind of person to expect. Some of the irony (like Henry swallowing his tooth) was too subtle for her,

Pros: Kids will see themselves as angels compared to Horrid Henry ... and laugh at his predicaments.

Cons: I was (and remain) a little concerned about just how horrid Henry is. There is an edginess there that takes away from the humor. Henry embodies many of the toddler/preschool characteristics we hope our children are past (tantrums, talking back to parents, disrespect for teachers). Parents may want to read so they understand how the humor works.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. These are the kinds of stories kids love. They'll want to go back to old favorites (to refresh themselves of pranks) and want to read all of Horrid Henry's stories.


Educational Themes: This is a transitional reader. Reluctant readers and remedial readers who will find the fast-paced action and humorous antics appealing. There are lots of things to talk about: feelings and emotions; pranks and jokes; sibling rivalry; respect; and interpersonal skills to name a few.

Literary Categories: Fiction - short stories, humor, series book

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

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