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The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker by Francesca Simon

Rebecca Davies

22 Horrid Henry 194x300 The Children’s Book Blog Christmas Countdown: Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker by Francesca SimonFor December I’ve decided to turn the children’s book blog into a sort of literary advent calendar. Every day of the month I’ll be posting a short recommendation of a wintry or Christmassy children’s book to warm your cockles or, in some cases, chill the blood. There’ll be something for readers of all ages, from picture books all the way up to YA. My choice for December 22nd is Francesca Simon’s ‘Horrid Henry’s Christmas Cracker’.

I absolutely love the Horrid Henry books. For me, no other author captures the pure hatred one sibling can feel towards another with the same acuteness as Francesca Simon. In this quartet of festive stories, Henry hijacks the school nativity play, fails to buy his family Christmas presents, attempts to ambush Santa Claus and has to put up with the Christmas Day from Hell – handkerchiefs and satsumas again, UGH!

Of course his angelic younger brother, Perfect Peter, is there sucking up to Mum and Dad as usual and thwarting Henry at every turn with his sheer perfection. Other regulars like Moody Margaret, Rude Ralph and Henry’s long-suffering teacher, Miss Battle-Axe, all put in an appearance, too.

Interesting, non-patronising early reader books are surprisingly hard to come by – especially festive ones – so this could be the ideal antidote to Christmas schmaltz for readers aged five to eight. I also defy any parents to get through it without sniggering at least once.

Check back tomorrow to see which book is lurking behind the ‘calendar door’ for December 23rd and catch up on my previous recommendations here

Rebecca Davies is a journalist and children’s author. She is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel set in Hackney. You can follow her on Twitter as @TheStoryMonster

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