The Horrid Henry books written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2009) are great bedtime stories. Each book holds four short stories, each story being the perfect length to read to your child before bedtime. That is, of course, unless your child begs for more. Which I can definitely imagine happening. :o)
The stories are about the pranks of Henry, a boy so mischievous and so troublesome that his parents call him "horrid" and even pretend sometimes that he is not theirs. Every morning, Henry wakes up his little brother by pouring water on his head. Henry stinkbombs girls. Henry ruins his classmates' school projects. The list goes on and on. These stories are not laugh-out-loud funny to me, but they are definitely funny, and I bet they are laugh-out-loud funny to children. It's the illustrations that are laugh-out-loud funny to me. I love the illustrations in these early chapter books.
There are many, many Horrid Henry books, but the ones I have read are Horrid Henry, Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy, Horrid Henry and the Mega-Mean Time Machine, and Horrid Henry's Stinkbomb. My favorite out of the four is Horrid Henry Tricks the Tooth Fairy. In it Henry tries his darnedest to lose a tooth and get money from the tooth fairy, sabotages his cousin's wedding, gets rid of a house guest called Moody Margaret, and sends a new teacher screaming out the classroom before lunch break is over. These stories stood out for me because Henry's shenanigans in them are especially clever and entertaining.
There are times Henry's plans are foiled. But many times he gets his way, and as a reader I find those times the most satisfying. You see, I was a good little girl. (Whaaat? Don't look at me that way. I was! I was practically an angel! *flaps her wings*) The Horrid Henry books allow me to be naughty vicariously. I have a feeling other good little boys and girls will feel the same way. Also, you can't help but root for Henry. At first he shocks with his behavior. Then you realize that Henry isn't really that horrid. He's just a normal boy and he becomes endearing.
[My copies of the Horrid Henry books are from the publisher.]