Last year Poppet showed no interest, but with the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child being among her favourites at the time, I saw an opportunity to make it easy for both of us, and she went as Lola, in jeans and a stripy t-shirt. We've since noticed that Lola usually wears a dress, but never mind!
This year, she has shown more interest but, bless her, she assumed I wouldn't want to make anything, which meant her only options were to persuade me to buy something from the supermarket (see above) or to wear a pink ball-gown dressing-up dress she got for Christmas 15 months ago, since we don't really do dressing up clothes in a big way in this house. I felt reluctant to pander to the pink princess option; much has been said elsewhere about the polarisation of children's role-play choices, and how it can affect their lifelong ambitions (pretty pink princess waiting to be rescued or married by the handsome prince, versus bold resourceful superhero conquering any problem in his path...) so I'll try not to labour the point here. Suffice to say I'd rather she aimed for something other than mincing around looking pretty as the focus of her role-play. Besides which, this particular activity is supposed to be about world BOOK day, not just about scrabbling around to find an outfit to show off to your friends, and we don't seem to have any books about princesses, so that ruled that one out!
We finally settled on a book she loves, for which I thought I might manage a suitable costume:
This book has long been a favourite of mine, and I remember listening to the fabulous audio version over and over again as a child, with Maureen Lipman "eeking" her way through the story magnificently. It used to be my littlest brother's favourite bedtime listening too, although the eeks did sometimes wake him up again if no-one remembered to creep in and turn down the volume once he was asleep. Now it's one of Poppet's most-loved books and she will often ask to listen to the CD while she curls up on the sofa for some quiet time.
So, with the help of the very nice sales assistant in the fabric part of Mason's in Abingdon (terrible website, fabulous shops), I chose a metre of fine fake fur (they didn't do ready made lengths of feathery cloth, sadly!), and a satin lining fabric, and borrowed a book from the library which contained a pattern for an owl cape. I scaled the pattern up onto newspaper, and with the leftover cloth made a short tunic. Finally, I used some felt to make a simple eye-mask, and here's the result:
Elsewhere, World Book Day has been celebrated in style, and if you missed the Biggest Book Show on Earth with Tony Robinson, Shirley Hughes, Liz Pichon, Cathy Cassidy and lots of others you can watch it on demand here.
There are also hundreds of wonderful book and writing-related activities on the Nurture Store site. My favourite is these beautiful word birds, an idea developed by textile artist BeckyAdams where you write a story, or poem on a little piece of paper, which is then folded to form the wings of the bird:
What do you think about dressing up as a book character? Is it a useful way for schools to encourage and inspire children's reading and writing? What would you go as, if your office or workplace held a similar event? I'm tempted to say I'd go as George from the Famous Five, so that I could just wear jeans and a t-shirt, but then again, this book has always appealed:
Not sure I'm up to creating that costume though...