the desire to be good, the longing to rebel

I was reading an article about a fictional character called Horrid Henry. Turns out, the kid is all the rage these days among british younglings and i can totally see why. Basically, this Henry chap is always up to some kind of mischief and his brother on the other hand is a good boy. I was reading forums about how parents in UK are complaining about how the cartoon doesn’t teach any morals. The boy apparently is the epitome of all things evil in a child but his brother, Perfect Peter is the seeming embodiment of good.

Francesca Simon, the writer of Horrid Henry explained in an interview which made a lot of sense to me that “Henry isn’t actually wicked — what you get is his fantasy of turning into a man-eating crocodile or a king or a dragon in order to eat his brother. There’s an illusion of bad behaviour, together with some things children would like to do but don’t dare.”

The US has refused to publish the stories even though it’s been a resounding success in the UK and has been translated into over 20 languages. I couldn’t really find out why they wouldn’t publish it but perhaps since they have 11 year old boys walking around shooting their fathers’ pregnant girlfriends in the head, i could probably understand why.

Of course, the cases of violence among the young in the UK are also horridly high but i can see why parents enjoy watching Horrid Henry. Seeing a child like Henry’s anxieties and wants dramatised as comedic animation sounds rather cathartic.


In case you can’t read kiddy handwriting, it says: Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. Picture by Rickie. “My favourite character is Horrid Henry from Horrid Henry books by Francesca Simon. He gets away with everything. He is horrid. He’s got nits.”



~ by icingontop on February 23, 2009.

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