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Don't Be Horrid, Henry! by Francesca Simon is an early reader title. The Horrid Henry books proved to be really popular with children who were able to read them, and some younger or less capable readers were struggling to keep up. So books like this were released in a simpler format to make them accessible to those readers. I would say this is ideally suited to children aged 6-8yrs, though I'm sure some bright 5yr olds will manage this with help. There are only 64 pages in this book, and it's been broken up into 6 chapters to make for an easy first chapter book. The idea is of course that you read just one chapter at a time. I love that this gives younger kids an opportunity to have a go at a more mature format, and it's good memory recall practice too. I'd say that children who have progressed onto reading the middle to higher stages of the Oxford Reading Tree (or similar) will be reading to have a try at this. Each page has four or five lines of fairly simple text on it, which has been printed in a reasonably sized text. I'd guess the font size is about a 12, which is larger than most books this size use. There are lots of colour illustrations included, with the younger reader in mind of course. The story is a simple one, it just basically tells about how Horrid Henry was always horrid, and especially so when his little brother Perfect Peter was born. He tries everything he can to get rid of Peter, but in the end, we catch a little glimpse that perhaps deep down he loves him really. The grandson absolutely loved this book. It was the first time he'd read a book in this 'grown up format' with chapters included. I don't think the story is anything particularly special, but I think this book is more about introducing kids to the format than telling an amazing story. The story is inkeeping with what kids will be familiar with from the popular television series of the same name, and the illustrations are by the same person (Tony Ross) for familiarity too. Not the most amazing story ever to make it into print, but a novel idea which has been well designed and produced. The grandson loved this and will happily go onto read the other early reader Horrid Henry books in the near future. I've got to give it four stars and a big thumbs up from us.
The first book chronologically about 'Horrid' Henry and his new baby brother 'Perfect' Peter. This book is easier to read than the other Horrid Henry stories so if you have a Horrid Henry fan who is just beginning to read alone then this is the best one, not only will it hook them into the books, it will ease them into reading as well. The difference between the two brothers couldn't be more obvious from the start, Henry is the loud crying baby who threw his dinner on the floor while Peter is the child who only sleeps all day and smiles at everything. This sets the scene as the grow up and life is focused from Henry's perspective when life is not fair whenever gets the blame. Henry's horridness is nothing out of the ordinary for a growing boy, he rebels by refusing to eat his vegetables and fighting for the remote control to watch cartoons. While Henry isn't keen on the new baby and would like nothing better than for his parents to take him back to the hospital when Peter is in danger one day Henry comes to the rescue.
It's a dreadful shock for Horrid Henry when Perfect Peter is born, and despite his best - or worst - efforts, he can't manage to get rid of him. As Peter gets bigger, Henry gets crosser. But the day comes when Henry inadvertently finds himself saving Peter from a fierce dog and discovers that it's rather nice to be a hero. Setting the scene for the Horrid Henry storybooks, this is a very simple and funny story with a universally recognizable theme. The artwork is bright and colourful in the spirit of the original HH books.