Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Getting Up to Mischief

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: Getting Up to Mischief

Article excerpt

Byline: Jule Wilson

HORRID Henry is probably the most extreme caricature of a naughty child, the polar opposite of his brother Perfect Peter, and his Up To Mischief display at Seven Stories allows both children and adults to revel in his bad behaviour without suffering any of the consequences.

Before you even enter the gallery, Henry's influence is clear as 'paint' blobs appear all over the wall and floor, leading once inside to child-size footprints which guide you around the space as if you are following in his cheeky little footsteps.

And as with all good museums, the interaction with its audience begins straight away. There is limitless paper with which young and old can create their own pictures with inky little hand prints, or a rubber stamp loaded with purple ink.

There are also crayons and small benches so children can doodle away to their hearts' content.

However, the exhibit itself is also very informative, placing Francesca Simon's Henry firmly within his context of cheeky children's writing. Boards detailing the history of children's literature, from the Victorian moral tales that morphed into fantasy adventures such as Alice in Wonderl and as tastes and politics changed.

The story of how Henry was created along with original manuscripts and artwork from Tony Ross take their place among doodlings from Shirley Hughes, who brought My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards to life.

Other impish characters throughout children's literature are also featured, including Just William, Pippi Longstocking, Clarice Bean, Dennis the Menace of Beano comic fame, Peter Rabbit and many of the books themselves are littered all around for anyone of any age to engross themselves in.

The information about Horrid Henry is just as accessible to those who aren't familiar within his books, or the cartoon that is currently showing on CITV, and the idea behind him is explained by the author Francesca Simon for all to read. …

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