Counting down to Glastonbury and thoughts on Horrid Henry.

Just over 3 weeks until we set off for this year’s Glastonbury Festival!

Do come and visit us under the big oak tree in the far corner of Green Kids (behind the pirate ship, behind Greenpeace)!

Inevitably, a sort of count-down starts – find all the bits of the tent, the shelves, the cushions, the rugs, etc, etc. Do things need washing, painting, repairing,  replacing? Are there changes that could make the Book Lounge work better or look better? Mostly, though I am thinking about the children’s books. I have amassed a huge pile of  them and as I pack them into boxes, ready to go, I naturally find myself reading quite a few. Someone who did not enjoy kids’ books could crack the job in a fraction of the time – but then they would not be doing a book tent, would they?

Once your own children have outgrown them, you tend to lose touch with new authors and illustrators. Who are the ones inspiring kids to enter the alternate, inner universes of  books now?  Knowing my interest in them, somebody asked me recently which newer kids’ books I liked. Eeek! Everything went blank. I did manage to come up with a few –  but sifting through this year’s selection reminded me to pay more attention to newer titles. Soon afterwards, a Dad requested Horrid Henry books. His bigger boy loves to read them to littler brother, he said.

No wonder boys  (and girls) like him. He is truly, awfully HORRID. He does all sorts of bad, naughty things and he is not sorry. Cheating is one of his special talents, as is lying, or more accurately, seeing it his own, warped way.  In fact he always believes it is other people’s fault that things have gone wrong. Frequently, his often ‘tired’ parents, his yucky brother, Perfect Peter, his poor teacher or the nasty girls at school do win/get their own back. But not always – in ‘Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend,’ the final episode consists of Henry’s attempts to get rid of the hated son of his Dad’s boss, who has moved to his school and  been foisted on His Horridness to be eased in gently. Ha! Not likely! After a series of bickers and mean tricks, Henry succeeds by doctoring homework. He has been asked to take this home for his rival wh0 is off sick. It’s brilliantly awful. A ‘gravity experiment’ entailing dropping numerous eggs is the final straw for the boy’s parents – they remove him from the school.

As an adult reading this, I was going, “Really – would the teacher, knowing Henry, let him do that? And wouldn’t the parents spot the spelling mistakes in the bogus ‘homework?’ Didn’t they question whether a teacher would remotely consider encouraging children to chuck eggs about the house?” I’m guessing that kids reading it know it’s pretty unlikely, too – and that’s the fun of it! Oh, and harking back to my last blog, it is an obvious ‘Overcoming the Monster’ tale.

Well done, Horrid Henry!

See you at Glastonbury!

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