PPerhaps the fact that it’s book week, once again, won’t surprise you. Maybe you’ve ever handcrafted a full-head Gruffalo mask out of papier-mâché and just mixed the perfect purple for the custom quills into the back of the jumpsuit you designed and sewed for your child? Maybe you’re testing the breathability of the construction of the Cheshire Cat costume you made a week ago? Kudos to you – and bonus points for the classics.
But maybe, instead, you just got a lightly swear-laden WhatsApp group chat message reminding you and all the other parents that Book Week is, once again, near. .
Did you plan to make Grandma Poss’s apron and recreate all the foods that finally make Hush see? I’m sure you did. We have all done it. But, here we are, a few days away from book week – and no apron.
Parent, it’s okay.
We are here to help. Assembled from the epiphanies and scars of Guardian Australia staff, here are six practical tips for parents who may have remembered book week is a thing but forgot it’s a thing that happens in days.
First, some settings. Anything that starts out as a TV or a movie is released. We may be late for the costume party, but we still have standards. Like any other maiden owner, I have 3.4 Elsa costumes tucked away in a closet ready to go out. But we’re all better than that, aren’t we? yes there are books on Frozen and Moana and Bluey and there are some very cheap Flammable costumes readily available at your friendly department store, but let’s aim for low stars. We can do it! I believe in you.
1. Real people are also in the books
So you have no cardboard, no spare sheets, no PVA glue. No matter! Children’s books are full of inspirational biographies and autobiographies of people who wear normal clothes and minimal accessories. Hello, Small people, big dreams phenomenon. Hi there, Good Night Stories for Rebellious Girls!
Got binoculars and something khaki? Poof! Your child is David Attenborough or Jane Goodall!
Do you have something white, a tennis racket and aluminum foil? Hooray! Your child’s name is now Evonne Goolagong Cawley or Serena Williams (aluminum foil around a paper – or plastic – plate will do just fine for a Wimbledon trophy… for the ladies).
Have a soccer ball? Attractive. Sam Kerr has a whole series on itself in which it is a child wearing Kids clothing, but often near a soccer ball. As do Tim Cahill and Lydia Williams. Do. You have finished. Well done, parent. You are a top parent.
2. Do you have a box?
My mom was a bit of a pro at book week or multicultural week. I would be Pippi Longstocking, the Mad Hatter, Cleopatra. She was that mom.
And then, one year, there was a bug in the system. I found myself on a parade of books in a cardboard box, with a few doors drawn in black marker on it. For I was a wardrobe – of the Lion, of the witch and of the wardrobe.
It was good.
For the more fashion-forward parent with access to white paint, you can have your child declared in a box to declare that they are actually a kid at a ball, fashionable. It’s a ball.
In fact, there are lots of rectangular prisms and cubes in children’s books. Ride with it.
3. Consider the Princess Who Breaks Expectations
No ohmygoditsbookweek article would be complete without special attention to paper bag princess. For four decades, this book saved the face of parents who forgot it was parade day. Consider this – not only does the costume only consist of a large paper bag (or brown paper – you could probably get by with parchment paper), but you don’t even have to ask your child to brush your hair or put your shoes on.
More advanced in this category: the princess in black series. She just wears black. You will need an eye mask and a piece of black cloth or paper as a cape. That’s it. Way to conform to book week demands and partially challenge female archetypes, parent!
4. Put something on your child’s head
Sometimes you just need a few small pieces – and so! Your child has a new face and is ready for book week.
Take the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The good people at Penguin anticipated your dilemma and downloadable prints for masks for the faces of the main characters.
For Minecraft fans (yes, it’s a video game, but it’s such a popular book series that I think we can include it in our strict rules) you can also print models for different heads of characters, color them in and stick them on a box that the child can carry on his head. For advanced parents, you may consider linking the box to a bicycle helmet for added security.
In both cases, normal children’s clothes will suffice for the rest of the body.
5. Eyeliner will save you
Do you have face paint in the house? Tremendous! Maybe you can decorate your kid all gray, paint their face gray, and – huzzah! – they are Gilbert the Great (it’s a shark).
But maybe you’re out of face paint and it’s book parade morning. The makeup is also very good. A bit of judicious eyeliner will make a really good nose and whisker – the basis of so many storybook animals.
Is Fantastic Mr Fox there with Weetbix cardboard ears and a hastily labeled “Bunnies and Chickens” pillowcase? Why yes. Could it be Laura from Little House on the Prairie with her freckles and gingham dress? Indeed, it is the same thing. Am I spying on Vincent Van Bear with the straw hat and the paint palette? Yes.
6. A witch hat is everything
When in doubt, wear a witch hat. Maybe your child is Harry Potter, Hermione, a Grimm villain. It does not matter. When you wear a witch hat, you are dressed. You have finished. Your job is done.
And… you’re ready for Halloween.
Got a last-minute, hassle-free, no-shame costume suggestion for Book Week? Share in the comments below