Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Horrid Henry is a HIT

Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross. Sourcebooks / Jabberwocky Kids. April, 2009. Trade paperHorrid Henry $4.99 ISBN 9781402217753.

Confession time. I love those "bad boys" like Henry in the new series about Horrid Henry. My library is the very proud possessor of a new title "the place where all the kids skip class to go." Is it a bad thing when the assistant principal opens the door and identifies all the missing kids on his radio? Maybe they recognize my kindred spirit and appreciation for their delightful naughtiness? Whatever it is, we are very, very lucky that Horrid Henry does not attend my school. Or live in my neighborhood! Or know my sons!

I recently read four of the six titles released by Sourcebooks / Jabberwockykids. Horrid Henry is an international reader’s favorite by an American author, but is just now being released in the U.S. Be an early adopter and get all these titles in your library before the rush hits. I know I’ve got to get the other two titles in this series because I am addicted to reading the antics of this naughty scoundrel. Horrid Henry is the Ramona gone wild of the 21st century. His antics are deliciously wicked and often unintention. His deliberate wickedness at Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machinetimes is so delightful that listeners and readers immediately tell me what he should have done instead. For those who worry that Henry will give your students ideas, relax. Sometimes it’s fun to let our naughty side live through Horrid Henry. 

Each of these books contains four short stories so they make perfect read-alouds. While self-contained tales, my students found themselves unable to stop with reading just one, but were compelled to keep reading. Okay, I confess, I was hooked and had to read sixteen tales, one right after another, without stopping. 

Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth FairyMy favorite remains "Horrid Henry’s Perfect Day" when Henry attempts to be perfect like his brother Perfect Peter. Those of you who know me best will recognize I have a bit of "naughty like Henry" in me when I give you my perfect smile and innocent look. Sometimes being good drives everyone around you wild since they are trying to catch you being bad. It’s a perfectly delightful torture. Oops! Back to the books. 

When my resource students read the Horrid Henry series they made comments like,

  • "That boy needs some attention." 
  • "This is a good book to read to big or little kids." 
  • "I like the names in this book like Moody Margaret, Perfect Peter, Horrid Henry, and Tidy Ted and even Mr. Nerdon." 
  • "I know little kids would like this book in grades 1-6 and it would be good to read to my sisters because they are horrid, too. Horrid means bad, mad, and angry. And that’s a horrid feeling my sisters make me feel when they are bad, too.
  • "I think Horrid Henry is entertaining because it’s about a kid that’s always trying to get his way and somebody’s attention, so he shows off."
  • "Horrid Henry was a bad kid and his teacher didn’t like him because he was the opposite and he was disrespectful and bad. I think he needs to pay attention in class and not be disrespectful to his teacher and follow his teacher’s directions. Henry was doing the stuff on purpose. He was getting everybody’s attention. This is just all about Horrid Henry."
  • "There is a boy named Horrid Henry and he is a big trouble maker. His parents need to punish him."

I love what one student wrote: "This book was the best book I’ve ever read. This book was so great I just Horrid Henry’s Stinkbombwant to show it to everyone in the world. There are so many good parts in this story that I like it best out of all the great stories I’ve read in my entire life. The characters in this story are great. All the things in this story are great. I wish I knew more about this story. I bet the next part of the story will be great. I hope they make another book like this same book."  

What I can’t believe is how much she wrote about this book considering she hasn’t liked anything else she’s heard this year?! All of those students agreed these books are big hits and should definitely be in every classroom from 1st to 4th grade. Then they decided since they liked them, that they should definitely be in every library from 1st-7th grade.

I agree. I think I’ll be contacting the publisher and demanding they give me a reinforced binding though because I predict these will continue to circulate madly.

Horrid Henry and the Mummy’s CurseHorrid Henry and the Soccer Fiend