Don’t judge a book by its cover…


Last week my daughter uttered those three little words that strike dread into any parents’ heart…World Book Day.

This international celebration of all things literary was probably started by some lovely well-meaning people who wanted to encourage everyone to read more and share the love of reading. But over the years it has morphed into something else – if you have children World Book Day is no longer about sharing stories. Instead it’s a feat of costume design as you struggle to transform your little darling into their favourite literary character.

Until this year I had escaped the trauma of turning my children into something from the pages of a novel but this year my daughter’s school has jumped on the band wagon and on Thursday she has to go to lessons dressed as her favourite character from a book. It started badly when she declared she wanted to be Elsa from Frozen. “But that’s not a book it’s a film” I said (ever the purist) “But I have the book” insisted my five year old. We also have Frozen hand soap; spaghetti and wellies …as far as I am concerned just because the Disney merchandise machine has printed a book featuring their money spinning heroines, the end result is not worthy of a mention in a celebration of all that is literary.

So, if she couldn’t go as Elsa – we had to think again. Ever since my youngest was born, his older sister has loved Horrid Henry (no prizes for guessing what her little brother is called) so it was easy to decide where we should look for our World Book Day inspiration. Moody Margaret – Henry’s next door neighbour and arch enemy was soon chosen – she may not have Elsa’s beauty and magic powers but she’s the main female character and has a nifty line in school ground put me downs! 

Now to put a costume together – Margaret wears a green school skirt and cardigan – my daughter’s school uniform is grey! She also has shocking red hair whereas my daughter is a brunette. A quick dash into town in the driving rain and I came back armed with a second hand cardi, cheap green skirt and some red hair spray. Coupled with a stripy T-shirt (wrong colour but all I could find) and I thought she was ready for her big day. A quick look at Facebook showed I wasn’t alone in trying to cobble something together -there was a tirade of anxious parents trying to beg, borrow or steal items to turn their little ones into everything from Harry Potter to the Dinosaur who popped the past!

My daughter looked at herself in the mirror, screwed up her eyes and said “I don’t really look like Margaret at all do I?!” Sadly I couldn’t argue – a quick rummage in the dressing up box unearthed my daughter’s Elsa costume which she was still desperate to wear. So in the spirit of everyone’s favourite chilly leading lady should I ‘let it go’ and let her trip off to school in a movie-inspired outfit or should I stick to my literary guns (even if she does have to take a picture in with her to show everyone what she’s meant to look like?)  We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see who wins the battle…..


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