Horrid Henry's Christmas by Francesca Simon; illustrated by Tony Ross
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
If you have elementary aged children, I'm sure you have heard of Horrid Henry. This best selling chapter book series comes from the UK and debuted in the USA earlier this year. The books each contain 4 short stories, all centered around a mischievous little boy named Horrid Henry.
This book has elements of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever as Henry tries to become the star of the school Christmas play. Outraged because his younger brother, Perfect Peter, was given the star role in the play - Joseph - Henry is unhappy with his one-word role of the Inn Keeper. He tries every way in the world to get Mrs. Battle Axe - his teacher - to expand his role, but she is not budging from her decision. Hilarity ensues on opening night, when Henry can't remember his one-word line and starts to improv by inviting Joseph and Mary into the Inn!
The other 3 stories in the book build off this first one, and they are just as cleverly written. In true Henry fashion, he works very hard to do all his Christmas without spending any money, because what is Christmas if you have to spend all your allowance? Henry also conceives a plan make Santa Claus give him more presents for Christmas, and then he has to live through the worst Christmas dinner in history. Oh, and did I mention, Henry manages to destroy the Christmas tree?
Although these stories of Horrid Henry may make some parents cringe, his actions are so over-the-top you can't help but be intrigued by his naughtiness. The stories are short, so they make perfect bedtime reading, and your children may actually be proud of themselves because they could never be as Horrid as Henry!
I've read a few of the Horrid Henry books with my daughter, and we find Henry's antics hilarious. Of course, she understands the difference between fiction and reality and knows that his behavior is wrong. I figure that if it's okay for adults to read books about characters who do the wrong thing and we understand it's wrong, the same should be allowed for kids, though it all depends on their level of maturity.
Diary of an Eccentric
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