I love books. I love the world. I love special themed days: Birthday, Mother’s Day, Christmas Day, Pancake Day. What in the Dickens is this World Book Day about?
I love any excitement over books. There’s nothing better than a story storm: thousands of kids camping out to get a Harry Potter book, the banning of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, 100 million+ copies sold of the Fifty Shades trilogy. Or better still, a group of little kids enthralled by a story; genuine joy that today is library day; pin-drop silence in a room of thirty teenagers as they are all glued to a book. Pure magic.
I’ve taught English in secondary schools since 2005. Never before have I asked students to find fancy dress costumes. Traditionally, we’d hand out £1 book tokens and have an extra twenty minutes of private reading. There’d be a book-themed assembly and the school library would put a nice display up. As the Literacy Coordinator, I spiced things up a bit one year by getting all the teachers, (including P.E. and Maths teachers) to share their favourite books, post shelfies (pics of their book shelves); homework was book-themed; tutor time was book-themed.
Now I’m a mum and my eldest attends a nursery attached to a local primary school. I love the school. I love my children. For World Book Day, he has to attend his session dressed as an adjective. This year: an adjective- a word to describe a noun. Next year, a modal verb, or subordinating connective? Can’t wait. He is three years old. He’s a bright lad. He loves jigsaws, PawPatrol and animals. He speaks a lot. He knows his letters. He writes his three-letter name, but not in the right order: “Ole” rather than the name on his birth certificate. I could correct him, but I think it’s kind of cute.
Luckily, the school gives some guidance, advising on any readily available costume, complemented by a descriptive word. This is good as there's no way we're panic buying costumes from Tesco's. We happen to have a lion costume: a hand-me-down from his big cousin. I think about tacking an adjective to its back: “tame”, “sleepy”, “wild”. But, then I wonder if this is a test of our family intellect. Perhaps “lackadaisical”, “arcadian”, “bellicose”. Or, maybe the adjective should be a political statement: “hunted”, “endangered”, “innocent”. Then we remember it’s World Book Day and consider another language, but my memory of Spanish only gives me “muy bien” and “confuso”. We get carried away by the delicious sounds when it dawns on me that little one definitely cannot wear his lion costume all day as even a grown up would struggle with the all-in-one zip when "Mr Wee is coming!" He’s only three.
Our only other option is the dragon/dinosaur dressing gown, which has the added benefit of giving him homely warmth. We talk about what type of dragon/dinosaur he’d be. His response is swift and confident: “gigantoraptor”. Thanks to Andy’s Dinosaur Adventures and the many dinosaur fact books that we’ve accrued over time, he already knows that this means ‘a big thief’. He likes the idea of a literal label so everyone knows what he is. After all, explaining you’re a Gigantoraptor all day could get tiring. Sorted. We can spoil him with an adjective and a noun, maybe even an article too: “A Big Thief”. I mean, show me a little child who doesn’t want to be labelled at school like this?!
I manage to talk him into a more figurative label: “fearsome?” “Extinct?” “Hungry?” and we’re all excited by the possibilities. Right. Now, I have to work out how to get the word onto a soft fleecy dressing gown… felt-tip pens on an old cereal packet sellotaped on? Paints on cardboard stapled on? Fabric paint on some scrap fabric tacked on? Embroidery? Cross -stitch? Help!?
FML… Praying for a snow day...
|"Companionable" Cat from 'Room on the Broom'|
... the snow day happened in all its glorious white blizzard wonder, shutting the school and postponing the 'Vocabulary Parade' until the following Friday. I found a piece of soft fabric from my patchworking days (yes, I know) , some fabric pens from a first Father's Day gift idea (a surprise message on a baby-grow during a nappy change) and a needle and thread to tack it onto the dressing gown. Win. Next challenge: the school run on wheels without the tail getting caught in the spokes.
|Spot the Anachronism.|