I failed at World Book Day 2016

I always thought I was going to be one of those perfect Pinterest mums, I don’t know why or what led me to think this, given that I have no aptitude in crafts or baking or art, I can’t even fold my sheets neatly if I’m honest. But for some reason or another, when I imagined my future mum self, I saw my children in beautiful clothes, all handmade by yours truly, despite never having had much success with a sewing machine before. I truly believed that they would sleep in their gorgeous colour co-ordinated nursery, complete with hand painted mural on the wall and stunning crochet blanket (made by mummy of course) to snuggle under. Now, I have since realised that my ability doesn’t quite match my enthusiasm when it comes to all things hand crafted, but I don’t let that stop me. I still throw myself headlong into most projects, with the reasoning that a bad job done myself, is still better than something mass produced and impersonal. So you can see where I’m going with this, if my children are dressing up as book characters for school, you can be damn sure they are doing it in something with wonky stitching and frayed edges, fresh off of Mummy’s sewing machine.

So about 2 weeks ago, I started seeing posts popping up about World Book Day, and I thought ‘lovely’, because I love books, especially children’s books. And then the more posts I saw, the more worried I got. The costumes got more elaborate and the parents got more frantic, trying to source the perfect accessories for their child’s chosen character, the more obscure the better it would seem (where does one find a child-sized monocle?) Gosh, I thought, since when did World Book Day become a competitive event? I’m glad we don’t have to deal with that yet. I’ll put it on the calendar for November, that should give me plenty of time to prepare for World Book Day 2017, Mabel’s first one after she starts school. I don’t want to end up having to get a (gasp) shop brought costume of a (bigger gasp) Disney Princess, and have people think that I can’t cope with life.

So I was feeling pretty smug, thinking of all the time I had to plan Mabel’s 2017 World Book Day costume (I was thinking maybe young Jayne Eyre?). That is until Mabel’s preschool updated their facebook status (I know :eye roll:) on Friday evening, informing us that they will indeed be dressing up for World Book Day and would like to ‘invite’ all the children to join them. Now you know, this is not an invitation, an invitation is something that you can accept or decline. No self respecting parent sends their kid to preschool in jeans when everyone else is in a costume (not on purpose anyway), there’s no choice involved, you just have to do it. But it’s ok, we still have the weekend, we can sort something out.

When I first ask Mabel about it, I heavily steer her in the direction of Katie Morag. It seems perfect, strong feisty female character, brilliant books, Cbeebies adaptation so all the children will know who she is. Perfect. I’m not sure Mabel can do the accent, but there’s time to practice. And how hard can a Katie Morag costume be? It’s just a kilt, a white knitted jumper, and some wellies. Well, it turns out it’s actually quite hard to find a green tartan skirt and a chunky knit jumper in the shops when they have all changed to their Spring lines already. In a moment of desperation I started googling knitting patterns for jumpers. I stopped when I remembered it had taken me the whole 9 months I was pregnant with Greta for to knit a tiny baby blanket and it was still too small. I didn’t have the time for that (or the skill, but I’ve never let that stop me before).

At this point I was out of ideas, and I’d wasted the whole weekend doing silly things like living my life. If only I’d started knitting on Friday night, I could have worked all through the weekend, I’d have at least got a sleeve done by now. I went back to Mabel and asked her what her favourite book was. She wasn’t sure, so she went to consult her bookcase. She came back clutching a board book, ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’. Ok, we can work with this, what would you like to be from this book? You could be Mother Hubbard, or Cinderella, maybe Little Bo Peep, or the Wicked Witch?

‘I want to be the Plum Pie’


The next day Carl text me from Aldi, ‘they’ve got a Little Red Riding Hood dress here, shall I get it?’. I reply yes, dejected and disappointed. How has it come to this? I’m trying to channel Julie Andrews here and my daughter will be going to preschool in a 100% polyester dress from a budget supermarket. I’ve failed my poor daughter. Maybe I shouldn’t send her to school in September, I should probably keep her at home and save her the embarrassment.

Of course Mabel thinks it is the BEST. THING. EVER. As soon as she sees the dress she puts it on immediately and starts yabbering away as usual…

Ooh I love it. Is this the hood? Oh look I can have the hood up, or the hood down, you see? And there’s a cape bit here, and you can take that off if you want. Look! Oh there’s a Wolf on it! What does it say there next to the Wolf? Oh it says Big Bad Wolf? I’m going to call it the Big Good Wolf. I’m going to grandma’s house now Mummy, don’t worry I won’t leave the path……’

And as I watched her skip off around the house, I remebered,  World book day isn’t a mothering test, it’s about the kids having fun and encouraging them to read! And I realised, she was way happier with that £4 dress than anything I could have cobbled together in 4 days. And I didn’t waste all my time on it or stress out to badly either. In fact, I think…

I have won World Book Day


How has your World Book Day experience been? Any rookies out there like me? How do you deal with the competitive mum pressure?

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  1. March 3, 2016 / 7:33 am

    So glad that Mabel was happy with the Red Riding Hood costume and in all honesty, I think very few of us mums manage to live up to the Pinterest-perfect ideal we put pressure on ourselves to be! If Mabel was happy then you definitely won World Book Day 🙂 #coolmumclub

  2. March 3, 2016 / 7:49 am

    Haha, this is me. I have learnt not to even try to make something. This is our third year of world book day at school and we have now learnt that there will be some mind-blowing amazing costumes but we are happy going in our nice easy ones. Oldest is going as Sophie from the BFG today, nice and easy and she is very excited because it means staying in her pjs all day! #coolmumclub

    • March 3, 2016 / 11:49 am

      I think this is the way forward! Ditch the competition, it’s only the parents that care anyway!

  3. March 3, 2016 / 10:36 am

    Ahhhh…it all makes sense now! I saw a load of random dress up stuff in Sainsburys this week…they have caught on 😉 My eldests pre school are also doing world book day *shudder* but as luck would have it, her key group is on a school trip woohoo! Saved! I guess I now have 365 days to think up next years too…;-)
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub. Little red riding hood looks super happy – you definitely won x

    • March 3, 2016 / 11:45 am

      We nearly got lucky, she only goes 2 days a week, but it had to be on one of her days didn’t it? 😩

  4. March 3, 2016 / 11:00 am

    Oh she looks so cute! Our world book day was a bit of a disaster too. Last year, we were unprepared. Good thing our friend gave my daughter a pirate kit, complete with eye-patch and she also loved the Girl Pirate book, so yep, she went as one and loved it. This year however, we were prepared. She loves “Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella”, so we thought, perfect, she can go as Harper. And it was easy too, a yellow raincoat, red skit and red umbrella. Ordered everything on Amazon weeks before… and guess what happened… School sends out a newsletter, the kids aren’t dressing up this year!!!!!! Grrr.

    • March 3, 2016 / 11:43 am

      Oh no!! At least it’s all things she can still use. Was she disappointed?

  5. March 3, 2016 / 11:05 am

    Hah! How funny!! I can completely relate to you feeling the pressure of trying to organise a HOMEMADE costume and thinking you should be fine because you love books! BUT like you, I’m sure I’d end up buying something polyester or even using something out of the fancy dress box to try and shoehorn into a book title.

    Weirdly my daughter is in her first year at “Big” school and yet the school seems to be the only one in the country that isn’t getting involved in World Book Day. So that’s the pressure off of me for another year!! #Coolmumclub

    • March 3, 2016 / 11:42 am

      It’s so odd they aren’t doing it! Yes I did try and think of something in the dressing up box we could use, but we only have Disney princesses and I refuse to go that low haha

  6. March 3, 2016 / 11:30 am

    I’m dreading world book day when my little one understands it. like you I am not very creative however I am competitive . I do think I’ll end up buying something from the shops though.

    • March 3, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Well if they are anything like Mabel, they’ll be made up with a shop bought costume!

  7. March 3, 2016 / 11:37 am

    The parent competition does my head in my bys went as iron man and captain america they have the books and they love them. this is what they wanted to be so as long as they are happy I am LOL parenting can be so competitive at times xx

  8. March 3, 2016 / 11:54 am

    I think her costume is fab. There were not the resources for costumes when my older ones were little and I am not talented at making costumes so to be able to buy one is perfect for me

  9. March 3, 2016 / 1:10 pm

    Massive win for you I say and Mabel seems happy! Least you didn’t forget it was book day and send your little one to preschool in her uniform. Small panic attack on the way to school as it hit me what day it is was. Luckily for me the pre school weren’t doing dress up. Phew that was close.

  10. March 3, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    I think she looks great as little red ridding hood! She looks like she loves it and surely that is all that matters 😉

  11. March 3, 2016 / 4:23 pm

    I say bog off to competitive Mum’s it’s supposed to be about the children. Your daughter looks fab. We had a hat theme so it wasn’t too awful but I’m glad it’s only once a year. #cool mum club lifeinthemumslane

    • March 3, 2016 / 10:59 pm

      Definitely. I put the pressure on myself to do a handmade costume but she wasn’t bothered at all!

  12. March 3, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Our school is celebrating it next week (long story, won’t bore you) I’m sending my 4yr old in the SAME little red riding hood costume that I too bought from Aldi last year- and if any other parents notice or are even in the slightest bit interested I’d be very surprised!

    • March 3, 2016 / 10:44 pm

      Haha! Depends on the school I suppose, a lot of the competitiveness is over social media too. And also for me, it’s more the pressure I put on myself, rather than feeling in competition with anyone else.

      • March 4, 2016 / 7:34 am

        I’m like that when it comes to birthday parties- the pressure! 😄My mother definitely didn’t have any of this nonsense to deal with!

  13. March 3, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    It is such a shame that things have become so competitive, especially when the whole idea is such a good one x

    • March 3, 2016 / 10:45 pm

      I don’t think it takes anything away from the children’s fun. This is meant slightly tongue in cheek.

  14. March 3, 2016 / 10:40 pm

    Aw don’t beat yourself up about it. You managed to make her happy and that is all that matters! I agree ditch the competition xx

    • March 3, 2016 / 10:47 pm

      Oh no, I’m thrilled that she was so happy with her costume! I’m not in competition with anyone, it’s more just for myself that I wanted to make her a home made costume x

    • March 4, 2016 / 11:10 am

      Completely unimportant where it comes from, as long as the kids are happy then go you I say!

  15. Michelle Murray
    March 4, 2016 / 2:03 pm

    Our costume was decided around about 10 minutes before bedtime on the Wednesday night. Little J had a fab time though

    • March 4, 2016 / 2:06 pm

      Oh Michelle, you like to live life on the edge! Glad Little J loved it 😊

  16. March 4, 2016 / 2:36 pm

    I’m not a big fan of world book day and our school don’t tend to do it – I think because they do a lot of other things in Lent. Quite glad really as I’m not a Pinterest mum either.

  17. March 4, 2016 / 4:06 pm

    Oh my gosh I’m dreading all of this! I love books, I want my kids to love books, I have no creative flair outside of writing and I can’t stitch a hem. Good to know that Aldi do costumes, huge win!!xx

  18. March 4, 2016 / 7:12 pm

    Ah you haven’t failed at all! I had to send my son to school as Darth Vader because he refused to wear anything else!! Great news to hear Aldi does costumes!!

  19. March 4, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Well I happen to think your Katie Morag idea was brilliant! Our two went as the monster from Not Now Bernard and The Lorax. Home made costumes. Great fun to make and they looked brilliant!

    • March 4, 2016 / 10:06 pm

      Haha thank you! I love a home made costume, yours sound great, we love those books! Hopefully next year I’ll be more organised

  20. March 4, 2016 / 10:26 pm

    LP’s Nan bought her that same Red Riding Hood costume and she refused to wear it so…. LP ended up being Cinderella. Who was I to complain!? 😉 x

    • March 4, 2016 / 10:34 pm

      As long as she’s happy! Greta was Cinderella at home because you know, if the big sister is dressing up then the little sister is not going to let that pass without joining in! Thanks for reading Donna x

  21. March 5, 2016 / 10:39 am

    Oh God – World Book Day seems like such a minefield. As an expectant dad who loves books though, I must admit I’m looking forward to it! My wife also wouldn’t be on board with a supermarket polyester costume though, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it! #coolmumclub

    • March 6, 2016 / 12:02 am

      It’s not to be fair, only if you make it a minefield which is what I realised. As long as your reading and talking about books with your kid, that’s the actual point of it! Thanks for reading 🙂

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