Saturday, 7 January 2012


Some of my daughter's favourite books are Francesca Simon's Horrid Henry stories.

If you're not familiar with them, they can be summed up quite simply: they centre around an extremely naughty schoolboy, who is called Henry, and can be very horrid. You could probably have guessed that for yourself.

My daughter, unlike most children, is fascinated by a secondary character. Unlike the vast majority of readers, who dream vicariously of being like the eponymous anti-hero, playing tricks on teachers and getting up to all sorts of mischief, my little girl worships Henry's brother, Perfect Peter. He's a nauseously polite, irritatingly pleasant, Aryan Youth-style, sanctimonious, little sod.

But in my daughter's eyes he's the real hero. I write here sometimes about my girl's rebellious, stubborn streak (see the last entry, Scratch). But it doesn't surface very often. Most of the time she is incredibly well-behaved and delights in doing her homework, getting tokens for good behaviour at school and seeing rows of happy faces added to her reward chart at home.

Her little brother, on the other hand, is rapidly growing up to have - how can I put it? A problem with authority.

The other morning, he was running round the house, yelling, having already been told off for trampolining on the sofa, throwing a DVD like a frisbee, and calling me a 'pooey bum'. (This last one strikes me as not only rude, but hypocritical, seeing as he's only recently potty-trained and still drops the odd log in his pants).

My daughter watched all these shenanigans quietly, looking up from her Horrid Henry book every now and again, with a world-weary expression on her face. And in one of those surprisingly brilliant bursts of vocabulary she sometimes displays, said the following:

"This family, Mum," she said looking around at us all. "And this family," she added, nodding down at her book.  "There are a LOT of similarities."

Video is Feargal Sharkey - My Perfect Cousin

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