Argh! It’s World Book Day!

A stack of books to symbolise the number of tasks parents have to carry out for World Book Day.

Happy World Book Day. Or commiserations on World Book Day, depending on where you stand. I’m somewhere in the middle.

I love books and it’s only right that the importance of literacy is both celebrated and promoted. It’s a nice distraction from all the awful things happening right now too. But, bloody hell, it’s hard work for parents.

First up are the costumes. Mercifully, they’re not dressing up at oldest’s secondary school so we only had two to deal with this year. But even so.

Kids always have delightfully creative ideas that are often paired with misguided notions about parents’ cash reserves and costume-making ability. After diplomatically dismissing suggestions involving Fantastic Mr Fox and Bilbo Baggins, we decreed that the costumes would have to come from what we have at home.

My wife had tactically started reading Matilda to youngest a fortnight ago, so that was easy enough. The nine-year-old raised a debate, however, when he decided upon The Doctor. Now, although there are hundreds of books based on the Time Lord’s adventures, Dr Who is a TV show. This really didn’t sit well with my obsessive tendencies.

Eventually, we allowed it but I’m terrified that my English literature teachers and tutors will find out and think less of me. But I doubt they read this so I’m probably safe.

So I had to make a sonic screwdriver. I used an old marker pen, an industrial-sized screw and two massive wall plugs, some gaffer tape and the end cap of a lurid green pen.

The hours I spent finding the constituent parts and making it weren’t really reflected in the end product, but he was happy with it.

Then there are the optional World Book Day activities. Not to be outdone by her brother in the ‘let’s give Dad more grey hairs’ stakes, youngest decided that she did want to take part in the matchbox-sized book cover competition after all. At 6pm last night.

First, I measured out the prescribed dimensions and realised I need another eye test. Then we raided the fresh hell that is the craft box. We found some bits and pieces and arranged them into something vaguely resembling Matilda. She then wandered off to eat her dinner so I had to glue it all together.

As soon as I was done with this infuriatingly fiddly process, she reappeared to apply the finishing touches with a pen. This made me nervous but then I remembered that, unlike me, she has beautiful handwriting. So that was that…

Until this morning, when she decided to give me one last heart-in-mouth moment. She did this by announcing that she wanted to take part in the optional book swap activity as we were about to leave.

I know I’m not alone in these mixed feelings about World Book Day, thanks to the school run. The joy on kids’ faces and the stress on those of their parents said it all!

Same time next year then, eh?

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