I still have a slight penchant for young children’s books, I don’t read them per se, but they’re always great for a quick through when one’s waiting for someone and time is short, or, and I may be in the minority on this one, but I always like to challenge myself to see how many things I can get done in the time it takes for the microwave to ping – and today’s activity in the 3 minutes I had was to flick through a Horrid Henry.
Created by Francesca Simons and illustrated by Tony Ross these beauties first hit the shelves in 1994 – meaning that I was amongst the first small children of Britain to become familiar with the story – especially when a TV series followed. The book I flicked through today happened to be one of my old copies that I gifted to my sister several years ago. If that wasn’t enough, a live-action version hit cinemas in July 2011 – but I’ve yet to go and see it.
The premise of the books is startlingly simple: Henry is a young boy who isn’t particularly nice. I like to think of him as a younger version of Sid from the first Toy Story film, you know, the one who taped Buzz to a firework?
Either way, there’s a wonderful selection of names mostly of a British vein to look through from the books in question, although they are all stylised the same was as Horrid Henry:
(Fiery) Fiona, often taken as the feminine form of the name Fionn, which means fair.
(Goody Goody) Gordon (friend of Peter), commonly believed to mean great fort, although there are other theories.
(Great Aunt) Greta, a diminutive of Margaret. This character believes Henry is actually called Henrietta.
(Magic) Martha, derives from the Aramaic and means lady.
(Perfect) Peter (Henry’s younger brother), derives from Greek and means rock/stone.
(Prissy) Polly, derived as a nickname for Mary.
(Rude) Ralph (friend of Henry), from Old Norse meaning wolf counsel.
(Singing) Soraya (class-mate of Henry), an Arabic name meaning the Pleiades.
(Vomiting) Vera (baby cousin of Henry), means faith in Russian, also associated with the Latin verus, meaning true.
(Vain) Violet, the name of a colour and a flower.