20 Years of Horrid Henry

20 Years of Horrid Henry

Francesca's Favourite Horrid Henry Moments

1. When the first Horrid Henry book, titled, unsurprisingly, Horrid Henry, was published in 1994. There were no plans for a second one.

2. When the first audio book, read by the brilliant Miranda Richardson, came out in 2000. Miranda just recorded the 23rd book, Horrid Henry's Krazy Ketchup, in May 2014. I always attend the recordings, and we laugh the entire morning.

3. Horrid Henry being translated into 27 languages, my favourite is in Spanish, Pablo Diablo, with Miss Battle-Axe renamed Signorina Guillotina. That came out in 2001, and was one of the first foreign editions.

4. Horrid Henry and the Abominable Snowman winning the Galaxy British Book Award in 2008. It was the first time Horrid Henry had EVER won a major prize and I was beyond thrilled.

5. My writer friend Steven Butler told me that when he was in primary school he’d stolen a story his sister Jenny had written, Fairies Paint the Rainbow, and passed it off as his. I immediately stole her story a second time for Horrid Henry Writes a Story where Henry steals Peter’s fairy tale because he’s too lazy to write his own, only to be forced to read it out loud…My story appeared in Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire, and yes, I do acknowledge my theft at the end.

Francesca's Favourite Horrid Henry Books

6. Horrid Henry's Krazy Ketchup: I am the world’s most fickle parent, and I always like my newest books best.

7. Horrid Henry Gets Rich Quick: This collection contains my favourite Horrid Henry story, where Henry sells Peter as a slave to Moody Margaret in a jumble sale.

8. Horrid Henry's Nits: This was the fourth Horrid Henry book, published in 1997, and the one that launched the books as a best-selling series.

9. Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine: I used to play time-machines with my sister, and I had a lot of fun adapting that game for Henry and Peter.  Henry tricks Peter into believing that he has travelled to the future, but that their sitting room looks the same because it is now the “Peter Museum.”  

10. Horrid Henry and the Mummy's Curse: I’ve included this one because it almost didn’t happen.  I had that arresting title, but no story to go with it.  I’ve never panicked so much as a writer.  Fortunately, my son Josh reminded me about a game he’d once played wrapping people up in loo paper, which got me thinking…

Horrid Henry Facts

11. In Czech, Horrid Henry is Darebaka Davida, in Italian he becomes Rico la Peste.

12. The many editions of Horrid Henry books and annuals published in the UK have been worth £42.2m since 2001.

13. Francesca grew up in California and is the only American to have won the British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year in 2008.

14. Francesca attended both Yale and Oxford universities.

15. Horrid Henry Robs the Bank was inspired by Francesca collecting people's stories of strategies for cheating at board games.

16. The most popular book is Horrid Henry and the Football Fiend, selling over 300, 000 copies.

17. Francesca's favourite author is Anthony Trollope, her favourite film is Singing in the Rain.

18. In 2011 a live-action Horrid Henry film was made starring Richard E. Grant and Matthew Horne.

19. While Francesca doesn't do school visits anymore, she's a regular on the festival circuit and is speaking at this year's Edinburgh Books Festival.

20. The latest book, Horrid Henry's Krazy Ketchup, came out last week and features the return of Rabid Rebecca.