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Summary: Meet Henry. Everyone agrees he is horrid. Horrid Henry's idea of a great day is ruining everyone else's day, starting with his brother, Perfect Peter. Spend some time with Henry in dance class and meet the people in his world: Miss Tutu (dance teacher), Moody Margaret (who lives next door), Perfect Peter, and of course Mom and Dad. This is the first title in a short story series for transitional and reluctant readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, independent reading, read aloud book, early reader, reluctant reader
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 3.8
Age of Child: Read with and by a 7-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter likes to read about Horrid Henry and act out some of his behavior while reading. She points out his short-comings and when we're done reading, wants to spend time re-reading some of the more vivid events.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an excellent format, with great content to grab reluctant readers. The stories move quickly, so it is easy to get through them in one sitting. That said, a little Horrid Henry can go a long way. Dad has a hard time seeing the value in writing books that showcase a child who is disrespectful and dour in all parts of his life.
Pros: Many first and second graders will see themselves (or wish to see themselves) in Horrid Henry. The stories are great as monographs, but readers will always want to see how Horrid Henry can top himself.
Cons: There is an edginess to Henry that doesn't evaporate. There are "happy endings," but that isn't because Henry sees the light. Generally, it's because he's worn down the adults around him. Parents may want to read so they understand how the humor works.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Be prepared to read the entire series or re-read favorite stories. The stories have a low-brow and "physical" humor that kids like.
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: April 2009
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