Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. il Tony Ross.
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky: Naperville, IL, 2009.
Originally publ by Orion Children's Books: Great Britain, 1994.

Yes, Henry has a reputation. So much so that his parents expect rotten behavior (and respond automatically), just as they expect his younger brother, Peter, to act perfectly. In the first story included in the book, Henry decides to be perfect, doing a good job of it, and takes his parents and Peter by surprise. In the second, Henry endures dance classes his parents force him to take. He ends up stealing the show in the class performance, but apparently his efforts aren't appreciated. The third story has Henry playing with a neighbor (can't really call her a friend), Moody Margaret, with the two trying to outdo each other. In the last, Henry's family goes on a horrid vacation. Henry thinks it will finally be an enjoyable one (no museums) until he realizes it's not what he expected.

These are the best books for young readers I've read in quite a while. They have lots of funny segments. In one week, my ten-year-old read the first four books twice (despite Henry's being way under his reading level). My thirteen-year-old also read them all. So, they are books for all ages to enjoy.

Between beginning readers and picture books and novels, there is a gap in literature that is difficult to bridge, causing frustration for children and concern by parents. The Horrid Henry books fall between the two categories, and hopefully their humor will help in this crucial step towards becoming a reader. The books are designed like beginner readers, but longer and more advanced. They are for those who have outgrown beginner readers but are not ready to read novels. Novels are so much longer than beginners that there really need to be more books at the Horrid Henry level. Good readers will make the huge leap to novels. Others might not. I have come across some other excellent transitional books but not enough to keep reluctant readers reading. I have posted before about the importance of this developmental stage and have a list of transitional books.

related-transitional books, chapter books, behavior, problem solving, dance class, playing together, camping
RL=1st-4th, enjoyable for all ages

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