A parent’s view of World Book Day

Rory Burgess dressed as Captain Hook for World Book Day. ANL-150603-145149001
Rory Burgess dressed as Captain Hook for World Book Day. ANL-150603-145149001
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TRISH TAKES FIVE: By blogger Trish Burgess

All last week my Facebook timeline was peppered with references to World Book Day.

Of course, the cardinal sin is having a child who insists on being a character that isn’t in a proper book

Officially Friday, schools across the country celebrated this day at some point over the week and, in the main, children were asked to come to school dressed as their favourite book character.

Parents fall into two distinct camps when it comes to this yearly event. There are those that relish the challenge, poring over books and the internet to come up with an unusual idea.

They probably have a special cupboard at home or at least a drawer or two, stuffed full of ‘things that might come in useful for dressing up’. They will have feathers at their disposal, ribbons, lots of felt and a glue gun. They are a whizz with a needle and thread and can knock up a cat­in­the­hat in a matter of minutes.

Then there are parents like me. Hopeless at sewing and lacking the drive and imagination to be creative with a stapler and a roll of sellotape. World Book Day is feared, it looms large and you try to put it to the back of your mind until panic sets in.

There are two choices: buy a costume or cobble something together. Buying a costume is much easier now than years ago: there are dozens of online party shops that can provide a plethora of princess dresses and furry animal outfits. Make one yourself and you run the risk of other mums feeling sorry for your spectacular lack of talent and your poor child has to face his pals, knowing his mother has made him look ridiculous.

Over the many years of having to dress my son up for World Book Day I tried both approaches. When he was little I found a red tracksuit and pretended he was Mr Strong from the Mr Men books. A more unlikely Mr Strong you could ever imagine: a tiny tot aged four wearing casual clothes and sporting a green hat which looked like it had been borrowed from Peter Pan.

Another year, at a time when my child didn’t want to dress up at all, he wore a woolly jumper, jeans and stuffed a bar of Dairy Milk in his pocket. Voila! Charlie Bucket from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

During the intervening years there was always Harry Potter as a useful standby. I had more success when I threw money at the whole thing. I once bought a Captain Hook costume, drew him a moustache and he happily swash­buckled into the playground, swinging a broken plastic sword which I had patched up with duct tape.

Of course, the cardinal sin is having a child who insists on being a character that isn’t in a proper book. I am sure teachers see the whole gamut of generic fairy princesses. You know they are onto you when they suggest the children bring to school the actual book in which the character is featured. Now you’re stuck. Is there a Moshi Monster book out there? A sticker book. That’ll do nicely.

n You can follow Trish on Twitter @mumsgoneto and read her blog at www.mumsgoneto.blogspot.com