A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Horrid Henry is an animated series based on books by Francesca Simon. It centers on a boy whose chronically bad behavior is played for laughs and whose temper tantrums are so fierce that they cause him to turn into a monster or menacing animal. He'll do anything to get out of compulsory tasks such as doing chores or running errands, even if it means sabotaging other people's plans, and he's frequently heard calling people names and complaining about all the things he hates. His parents have little control over his unruliness, and his well-mannered younger brother is the brunt of many scathing remarks and name-calling ("worm," for one) because he follows the rules. Kids likely will find Henry's unique world view amusing (and may even relate to his woes), but parents will find the incessant whining and scheming less enjoyable.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
HORRID HENRY is the story of Henry (voiced by Lizzie Waterworth), a scowling, mischievous boy who pulls pranks on his classmates; makes fun of his younger brother, Peter (Emma Tate); and wages friendly war on his teachers and peers. He's never met a job he didn't love to hate, whether it's doing his homework or attending a family member's wedding, and he'll do anything to get out of situations that displease him. Often that means inventing creative ways to get around what's expected of him, but he figures anything's better than doing something you don't want to do. And when things get really bad, watch out: No one has a temper quite like Henry's ... except maybe his inner monsters.
Is it any good?
If Dennis the Menace set the bar for comical misbehaving, then Horrid Henry smashed it to smithereens and littered his neighbor's yard with it. From a parent's standpoint, there's not much that's appealing about Henry himself. He's whiny, selfish, disrespectful, and argumentative, and he puts others out for his own gain. In fact, the only quality of the show less likable than Henry himself is his parents' blissful oblivion to his antics.
That said, Horrid Henry has won a following among young fans for obvious reason: Despite his faults, Henry is a highly entertaining character, particularly for grade-schoolers who will appreciate his laundry list of complaints and the show's occasional gross-out humor. His behavior is shocking at times, but it does speak to the undeniable fact that kids aren't always even-tempered and compliant. Henry's escapades will find a more receptive audience in kids than they will in parents, of course, so unless your kids are particularly susceptible to mimicking what they see on TV, they'll probably just laugh along at the implausibility of Henry's over-the-top antics.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Henry's behavior would play out in the real world. Kids: What repercussions would you face if you acted like him? How would your family and friends react?
Is it important to have good manners? How does having them affect how others respond to you? Are you ever bothered by things that your friends say or do? How do you handle situations like that?
Is this show trying to make a statement about Henry's behavior, or is its intention just to have fun? Do you often find lessons in the shows you watch? Do any stand out as very positive?
Themes & Topics
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For kids who love grade-school antics
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