Tuesday 24 July 2012

206. Horrid Henry: Monster Movie by Francesca Simon illustrated by Tony Ross

Horrid Henry: Monster Movie by Francesca Simon illustrated by Tony Ross
Published July 2012 Hachette Australia (Orion)

From the publisher:
Four brand new stories in which Horrid Henry makes his own scary movie, The Undead Demon Monster Who Would Not Die, persuades Peter to hand over his stash of Grump Cards (as a brilliant scheme to get him out of the punishments his parents give him) and spends a weekend at Aunt Ruby's where he has to share a bedroom with his two arch-enemies, Stuck-Up Steve and Bossy Bill. Then when Henry's school decides to have a mini-Olympics, he sets up his own Holympics, with medals for crisp-eating, TV watching, and Burping to the Beat.

No reader should be surprised about what to expect with a new Horrid Henry title.  It is, after all, there in the series name…Horrid Henry.  Henry isn’t nice, in fact his behaviour is so horrible I have even had parents who won’t let their children read the books.  That is surely the reason children WANT to read them!

I am sure that young readers revel in Henry’s wickedness, knowing full well that they wouldn’t dream of being so terrible naughty and rude!  As always, the new book is a collection of short stories. Horrid Henry’s Monster Movie, Horrid Henry’s Horrid Weekend, Horrid Henry’s Grump Card, Horrid Henry’s Olympics.  Henry’s brother, Perfect Peter features in all of them, but we also have the pleasure of being joined by Rude Ralph, Dizzy Dave, Jolly Josh, Aerobic Al, Moody Margaret, Anxious Andrew and Sour Susan.  What a cheery bunch!

It’s hard to feel sorry for Henry, but in the story Horrid Henry’s Horrid Weekend, I come close.  Henry meets his match with Stuck-up Steve and Bossy Bill.  Henry is dreading spending a weekend at Steve's house...add Bill to the mix, and Henry knows he is on for trouble.  Steve and Bill match Henry, nasty comment for nasty comment, dirty trick for dirty trick.  When Henry is just about to explode with frustration, he comes up with a clever way to get back at the boys.  It involves pyjamas, fluffy slippers and cuddly toys!

There are no lessons learned in these books.  Henry doesn’t all of a sudden feel remorse for his behaviour and turn over a new leaf to be nice and kind, LIKE Perfect Peter. He starts off horrid, and he stays that way.  As I said, some parents may not like Henry, and I can see their point, but I certainly don’t think younger readers will use these books as a How To guide. 
Who will like this book: Boys age 7+
Read it if you like: Dirty Bertie by David Roberts

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