It’s World Book Day today and I’ve seen children by the bucket load going to school dressed up as their favourite characters from literature.
There’s the inevitable plethora of Harry Potters along with a Cat in the Hat, an Alice in Wonderland and even a couple of Where’s Wallys, although I am not sure you could call the bobble-hatted chap in a red and white stripy jumper a character from literature.
Still, it brightens up a school day if nothing else.
I’ve even seen a small child far too young for school dressed up as a crocodile, just because he can. But more likely than not it’s probably because an elder sibling left the house this morning dressed as Willy Wonka.
Since the 1990s when the thing was conceived, World Book Day has become a major event in the school calendar. You won’t be able to log into Facebook tomorrow without seeing wall-to-wall pictures of your friends’ children dressed up as their favourite book characters. The local papers will be full of it, too.
Has the whole World Book Day thing got out of hand though? Not surprisingly, there is a growing backlash against the event.
Some say it puts unnecessary pressure on parents to come up with something a bit more creative than they did last year. And (heaven forbid) it allows companies to cash in on the celebrations. I’ve seen costumes on supermarket shelves aimed at parents who have neither the time nor the inclination to make something for their little darlings.
Do any of these gripes matter, though, if it encourages children to read more books? Or, hush my mouth, have a bit of fun while at the learning coal face?
Just like you’re a long time dead, you’re a long time at school, so surely the more joy in each day the better.
Personally, I love seeing the children in fancy dress. I love seeing adults in fancy dress. I love fancy dress, full stop.
In fact, I’m very tempted to just get out there and walk around West Dorset and do my best impersonation of Gangsta Granny.
Anyone care to join me?