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World Book Day author Francesca Simon talks children's books

The Horrid Henry creator reveals her love of anarchic cats and which story guarantees tears every time

Posted: 6 March 2013
by Alex Lloyd

Author Francesca Simon
Horrid Henry creator Francesca would love to dress up as The Cat In The Hat.

Writer Francesca Simon is the creator of the award-winning Horrid Henry books and has had over 50 titles published in 24 different countries. She grew up in California but now lives in London with her husband, son and Tibetan spaniel, Shanti.

What was your favourite book as a child?

Edward Eager’s Half Magic. I love stories where magic happens to ordinary children.

If you had to dress up as a character for World Book Day, who would it be?

Dr Seuss’ The Cat In The Hat because he is so anarchic.

Which children’s book do you wish you’d written?

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce. It’s the most moving, brilliant time-slip story ever. I can’t read it without bursting into tears at the end.

Which children’s writer or illustrator do you admire most and why?

Roald Dahl, because he is so fearless and funny.

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?

Horrid Henry. He has such a vigorous imagination and lives entirely in the moment.

What are your top five children’s books of all time?

Half Magic, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, and A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

Horrid Henry’s Guide To Perfect Parents by Francecsa Simon and Tony Ross is one of eight World Book Day 2013 books. Children can exchange their £1 voucher for a copy at a range of bookshops. Find out more at

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