I absolutely love World Book Day, and I would have been all over those costume ideas, had it been around when I was at school. Ever since the older one’s first year in Nursery, I’ve loved helping them come up with ideas for costumes, and finding ways to achieve them. It’s coming up next Thursday, and we’ve had our thinking caps on for a while now.


So it was with deep sadness this year that I learned the older one’s school would not be requiring pupils to dress up (although they have been promised that ‘something else’ will be happening instead). I think he was almost as gutted as I am, and reluctantly put his plans for a full black-and-white Tom Gates get-up in the bin.


It’s also put paid to this week’s blog post, which was going to be all about preparing the 2020 costumes; but as this sad news may very well herald a closure of the World Book Day costumes chapter for the older one, I’ve decided a trip down memory lane would be more appropriate instead – so here, instead, are the Chamberlain World Book Day Costumes from the Archives.


Nursery Year: Sir Charlie Stinky Socks, by Kristina Stephenson

World Book Day Costumes

This was one of his absolute favourite characters around this time. The books are just lovely, following the adventures of a brave little knight, his horse, and his cat called Envelope. He travels through beautiful fairy tale worlds, and encounters all sorts of wonderful creatures, characters and puzzles. So this is what we did – not exactly true to the illustrations, but he felt every inch the clever and courageous young knight, and even sneaked the Gruffalo in there too on his stripy socks.



Reception Year: Stick Man, by Julia Donaldson

World Book Day Costume Stick Man

Now, this is one of my proudest creative moments EVER. The only tricky part to this personal triumph of a costume was getting the nose to stick onto the cereal box I’d cut up and painted – finding the rest was easy! He looked so cute, and this is probably my favourite.



Year One: Zog, by Julia Donaldson (and Stick Man again)

World Book Day Costume Zog

Daddy had much more input on this one, and was the creative drive behind the entire cardboard construction of wings and mask for Zog. All I had to was source and apply the elastic to keep it all on, and find some orange clothes that would fit – not an easy task, as it turns out! The main problem with this one was durability, and apparently he kept taking out classmates who were foolish enough to get behind him at any time.

(Note little brother proudly sporting recycled Stick Man outfit – I couldn’t let that creative triumph die after only one wearing.)



Year Two: The Highway Rat, by Julia Donaldson (and Thomas the Tank Engine)

World Book Day Costume Highway Rat

This one was also fabulous. The only purchase needed here was a lacy jabot for his shirt, and the rest we already had – note the repurposed pirate hat, and black superhero cape. Ratty facepaint artistically applied by Daddy. Little bro forged his own path that year, and went as his beloved Thomas the Tank Engine – a kind loan from the Toddler Group dressing up box, which he was most reluctant to give back.


Year Three: Mr Gum, by Andy Stanton (and yes! It’s the Highway Rat again)

World Book Day Costume Mr Gum

Not cutting as familiar a figure as many other World Book Day costume choices out there, Mr Gum was nevertheless a delight to create. The ginger face furniture is even more impressive in hirsute person, although it was tricky for him to keep it on all day without developing a rash (and never mind eating). The hat will no doubt be useful again, should he ever need to dress up as a pilgrim, or recreate an Amish village. I think this is probably his personal favourite – and as it turns out, a good one on which to end it all.


The Highway Rat costume made another appearance, this time further enhanced by a Highway Horse, very kindly loaned by a fellow dressing up enthusiast!



2020: Younger One Goes it Alone…


In spite of our Year 4 disappointment at junior school, happily the little one’s infant school is still going all-out costume crazy, as usual. He has a very firm idea of what he wants to be, so all I have to do is figure out how to guard him against a death of cold as he dresses up as Captain Underpants. Which is basically white pants and a superhero cape. In March.

World Book Day Costume Captain Underpants


I’m so passionate about the power of reading, and anything that gets children to open a book and get lost in it has my vote (see this post for more of this: World Book Day – Be Anything You Like, Just Be Inspired). So while it might be a bit of a challenge, I’m very grateful to this crazy superhero character who got my little boy reading 10 straight books, one after the other – and even though the era of World Book Day costumes is coming to an end for the older one, I think it’s safe to say it’s done the job, and got him reading for life.

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