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Horrid Henry so, well, horrid

(76 Posts)
IcouldstillbeJoseph Mon 22-Jul-13 03:58:35

DS is only 2.6 but was bought a box set of Horrid Henry books by a well-meaning Aunt.
He opened the gift and we said "they'll be put away for later" but he wanted to look and have one read to him. So we did. Mistake! Now he is obsessed with them and has already started saying "hate you" etc that HH says.

Anyway, it's easily fixed at this age as we've just hidden them all and he's forgotten about them. But the point was - they are bloody horrible books! I must be at my pearl-clutching best but Henry behaves in an awful way, with no consequences to his actions and always gets what he wants. Speaks to his parents/brother awfully.

I can't envisage a time that I want those books out of hiding!

fuzzpig Sat 27-Jul-13 09:45:15

(when she starts choosing her own books I don't think I'll ban anything though, unless age inappropriate etc)

TunipTheVegedude Sat 27-Jul-13 09:58:00

I love them. My kids side with Perfect Peter, anyway.

The only book that has had an identifiable bad effect on any of my dcs is The Secret Garden which made dd start behaving like Mary Lennox when she comes from India and expects to be waited on by the servants hmm

I don't think they're awful in themselves but if your dc is copying the bad bits then yes, the sensible thing to do here is remove them.

BaconAndAvocado Tue 30-Jul-13 22:21:07

HH is the pits. We banned the tv programme here as it was so derisory.

Luckily DS hasn't expressed an interest in reading the books.

It's mr. Stink all the way smile

ubik Tue 30-Jul-13 22:29:50

We love HH.

The whole family sits and listens, chortling away. Our kids like to talk about the 'good' and 'bad' behaviour - they say Henry is naughty but Peter isn't 'perfect' either and they often pick up on how Peter or his parents actions lead Henry to misbehave.

DD1 also loves The Beano, I let them read anything they can get their hands on, you would have to be a vey precious parent to think that HH is worth banning. Horrible Histiries are much more disturbing (and I haven't banned those either)

BaconAndAvocado Wed 31-Jul-13 10:13:59

ubik I'm extremely precious, unlike HH's parents hmm

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 10:29:34

I think the TV show is fab and waaaaay better than a lot aimed at kids.

littlemrssleepy Wed 31-Jul-13 10:34:32

I feel the same about sodding Norman Price. That kid needs an ASBO.

vintageclock Wed 31-Jul-13 15:08:21

I don't think they have any particular charm or are particularly creative but, in terms of Henry's behaviour, it is really no worse than that of Denis the Menace or some of the other comic book characters we all enjoyed reading about as children. In fact they're a bit like a comic story lengthened to fit a book format.

Treagues Wed 31-Jul-13 15:10:10

I banned them. They're a recipe for disaster with a certain kind of child (I have one of this kind grin ). You don't want to give them ideas. Half of CBBC is banned as well.
Most kids: it's just entertainment. Others: it's a manifesto.

TunipTheVegedude Wed 31-Jul-13 15:12:45

grin Treagues!

MrButtercat Wed 31-Jul-13 17:02:52


BaconAndAvocado Wed 31-Jul-13 20:38:44

Oohhh, Norman Price, what a little PITA! Thank goodness DCs well past the Fireman Sam stage.

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 31-Jul-13 20:44:48

We like Horrid Henry and we discuss the inadequacies of HH's parents grin as well as the behaviour of Margaret and Peter etc. They know that sometimes grown-ups are unfair (they are school-age and are exposed to unfairness) and I think we need to talk about that. I have threatened to ban the DVDs when they started talking nastily and they did drop the behaviour. Perhaps they are not quite suitable for a 2yo though ...

My kids also read beast quests etc but have managed not to go around slaying beasts. (Not that there are that many round here.)

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 31-Jul-13 20:46:28

Oh yes I remember Norman Price. grin

DSs read the beano as well. But so far have refrained copying. They have their own style of menace, all their own and original. hmm

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 31-Jul-13 20:47:01

Actually it's Kwasi from octonauts that I can't stand.

MrButtercat Thu 01-Aug-13 07:59:46

My dd also loved the Enid Blyton Amelia Jane stories and the Naughtiest Girl books<starting to see a theme>

Kids love a villain.

I do think many identify with HH as many will live with a Perfect Peter at times.

The Miranda Richardson CDs are well worth getting just for her impression of Greedy Greta alone!

stopusingmynicknames Thu 01-Aug-13 08:08:34

I initially banned HH, but found that they were the only books that DS1 would actually pick up and read! The books got him into reading (albeit for a short while, but anything that gets kids reading books has got to be worth trying, imo).

Similarly, as someone upthread said, I also began banning Tracey Beaker, because a lot of the language was being repeated at home. But the issues that the programme covers (friendships, a sense of belonging, bullying etc) are really good for children to watch and comment on, which for me overrode the language (which, tbh, he picked up in the playground anyway)

harrietspy Thu 01-Aug-13 08:20:53

DS2 loves HH, Calvin & Hobbes, the Beano, Felix the Cat, Mr Gum... (also Winnie the Pooh & Paddington). There was a period where ds2 definitely saw Calvin & Hobbes as an instruction manual for how to be six ('Nude descending a staircase', anyone?) but not so much now he's nearly 8.

I didn't read HH to him as a 2 yo. He would have picked up on the name calling because it's the easiest part of the narrative to grasp (like a repeated refrain eg in 'the smartest giant in town') and because it would have got a reaction from me. He wouldn't have understood the stuff that's squarely aimed at older children. Sometimes my ds2 says he's Horrid Peter or Perfect Henry depending on his mood.

I really don't like the HH books but I'm not going to ban them.

ubik Thu 01-Aug-13 09:19:49

I loved Enid Blyton as a child but cannot bear it as an adult - I make DP read it to them.

Love Roald Dahl. Especially his re-telling of fairy tales: "she whipped a pistol from her knickers.."

I do 't think children's literature needs to be morally improving, that's a rather odd attitude towards literature TBH

Treagues Thu 01-Aug-13 09:28:02

Good lord no, it doesn't have to be morally improving, in fact that's rather unbearable.
I just have a son who gets heavily into whatever he's reading. Someone mentioned Beast Quest: he's read most of those, made weapons (from cardboard but that's obviously not optimal in his eyes grin ), pictures, written his own stories, got friends involved so lots of beast-slaying play.

Stories get under his skin and this is fantastic as far as I'm concerned, I love that he loves reading and imagining and creating. BUT Horrid Henry took him the same way after one book and naturally the results are VERY ANNOYING. I think he is a bit emotionally immature and has a tendency towards obsession, so rather than fuel his interest I just deflected him, right away from HH and onto something else. The Beano btw was having the same effect, and so were things like Prank Patrol on CBBC

He loves Roald Dahl btw but there is something slightly otherworldly about his books and the awfulness is of a different sort, so he reacts very differently.

I hope I haven't got the only child like this! I haven't really met another who gets so totally immersed in a series of books that they start becoming the characters!

Treagues Thu 01-Aug-13 09:37:22

stopusingmynicknames Tracy Beaker had to go: he was too young to grasp the friendship issues and the constant, constant sarky and aggressive tone that he was taking on from it was too much. Ditto Dani's House, which he inexplicably loved confused

In fact if you listen to most (not all) CBBC drama it is carping, unpleasant, combative and cruel. The kids are never nice to each other! Where are the joyous laughs and the silliness and the really nice wise things that young teens can do for each other? I know drama is drama, and conflict is how it works. It's just so boring to hear these teenagers carping at each other: get some better writing for god's sake!

BaconAndAvocado Thu 01-Aug-13 21:38:09

treagues I completely agree with you, young children have a lifetime of grittiness to look forward to, why start now?

harrietspy Fri 02-Aug-13 06:45:59

I think it all comes down to the individual child. I think CBBC is great, personally, but then my dc haven't appropriated anything except 'Oh Budgies' on Hacker Time. I've just started watching Wolf Blood in my own time when they're in bed because it's so compelling.

I don't find Dani's House remotely funny, but then my dc probably wouldn't be shaking and crying in 'Family Tree'.

My dc haven't got a heap of grit in their lives right now but they see it in the lives of those around them at school - 2 of my ds's closest friends have lost parents - and DS1 experienced horrible bullying and violence at primary school before we moved. I think one of the reasons why Jacqueline Wilson is so very successful is that her characters help children to see that they are not alone; they're not the only ones who aren't living an Enid Blyton life that's all warm milk and gingerbread (because no one is, really). I'm happy for Tracy Beaker to be in their lives. I loved children's drama on telly when I was a kid in the early 80s - Break in the Sun, Dramarama, etc - for the same reasons: I wasn't alone with the grit. It wasn't all E Nesbit (although I loved that too). You're right, Teagues, the conflict is what makes it drama, but it doesn't suit everyone.

But my DS are nearly 11 and 8, so maybe it's an age thing.

exoticfruits Fri 02-Aug-13 07:02:55

I think it is a shame that parents stop children having books because they don't like them. My DS1 adored Thomas the Tank Engine books at that age and I hated them. He always had at least one from the library and I always read them- they gave him so much pleasure and looking back it didn't seem a very long phase (although it did at the time!)- they grow out of things.
I don't see any harm in putting them away if you can't stand them but I think that you should get them out when he can read them himself. Children love to read books that adults hate, Roald Dahl understood that and was very successful.

harrietspy Fri 02-Aug-13 07:17:56

Ugh, the Thomas books. I'm with you, exoticfruits. Sooo boring and really mean-spirited. (Didn't one train get bricked up in a tunnel for years as a punishment, and when he was finally let out, his driver had died in the war?). But my son loved them... I also remember loving the Faraway Tree books as a child. Son loved them too. As an adult I found them repetitive, whiny, turgid... I haven't re-read the Famous Fives because I loved them as a child and don't want to ruin the illusion!

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