WOMAN ON THE VERGE: No dressing up my dislike of Book Day

March 5th, 2022 11:30 AM

By Emma Connolly

Unless you’re Make-and-Do Mary from RTÉ’s Anything Goes, World Book Day strikes fear in all parents and guardians of school-going kids. Harry Potter is always popular, but I think I’d go as Angela Scanlon whose first book is out in May.

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After Hallowe’en, World Book Day is the least favourite day of the school calendar for parents everywhere. Or maybe just for me as I’ve nearly bankrupted myself and gone absolutely ‘Potter’y over the whole thing!

• JUST when you think you’ve a week when there’s nothing much on to threaten your precarious grasp on ‘things’, Book Day pops up on the calendar. Now, I’ve nothing against books per se, I love them in fact, and in theory Book Day sounds like it should be fabulous. But whoever had the bright idea for kids to get dressed in character to mark the day, clearly had too much time on their hands. As if it’s not hard enough to get out the door in the morning as it is. Give me strength. And a costume please!

• I’m definitely not the sort of person who can magic something out of an old pair of tights and some pipe cleaners so I started throwing ideas out to the five-year-old when we still had a few days to play with. I wouldn’t call her fussy as such, but  you know … someone else might. ‘How about going as a hungry caterpillar,’ I suggested cheerfully, ‘we love that book (I think I over did it with the fake jolliness, she smelled a rat). ‘Too babyish,’ she declared. I was actually secretly relieved that got rejected as who knows how to make a hungry caterpillar? Maybe Make-and-Do Mary Fitzgerald, but certainly not me. Besides you’d want to have started the toilet roll collection last year.  So I started to get a bit more strategic. ‘How about something from Room on the Broom – you could wear a witches’ hat and hold a … brush?’ Her facial expression said it all. I did a hard sell on Where’s Wally as I had the perfect t-shirt, but it was an emphatic ‘no’. We’ve a gorgeous Grow It Yourself book illustrated by Fatti Burke so I suggested she could go as a carrot? A tomato? A cute radish? Any fruit or vegetable of her choice? No joy. All we were missing was Simon Cowell’s red button. Gill publishers sent me Fatti’s latest book called Michael Collins the People’s Peacemaker which is a great read. She is tall for her age, but still, I figured going as The Big Fellow might be a bit controversial for junior infants.

• Anyway after an afternoon of negotiations she settled on Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Rightly or wrongly, I decided way back that Harry Potter wasn’t for me. Millions of people around the world adore it, I literally judged the book by its cover and have never read as much as a single page, or seen any of the films. I did hear Ryan Tubridy recently saying he had felt the same and was a late-in-the-day convert so perhaps I should reconsider. But in the meantime, my husband who is a fan, has the five-year-old hooked. To be honest I think she’s more into the ‘merch’ (specifically landing a trip to Harry Potter land) than the stories, but anyway I was glad we at least had something concrete to work with.

• I actually recently started reading her some of my old Enid Blyton books and let’s just say, a bit like myself, they haven’t aged all that well. I remember reading somewhere that Enid often had more than 20 books published a year. Eh, she might have spent a bit more time developing the plots because they’re all the same! We started with The Magic Faraway Tree which featured spoiled, badly behaved Connie, explained by the fact she was an only child (I had to do some paraphrasing there, considering I was reading to my own only child), who came to stay with her cousins when her mother got sick and they had all lots of adventures up a tree. In the second book in the series, cousin Dick came to stay when his mother got sick and they had more (similar) adventures up a tree. We tried the Wishing Tree series – the exact same idea but instead of climbing a tree, the kids climbed into a chair. I nearly choked on one particular sentence the other night which read: ‘Just like a girl to get us into this mess!’  At this rate I’ll have to give Potter a go.

• I’m trying to cut back on my TV addiction and read a bit more myself but I’m almost embarrassed to admit my two most recent purchases were Manifest: 7 Steps to Living your Best Life by  Roxie Nafousi (yes, I’m blushing) and I pre-ordered Angela Scanlon’s book ‘Joyrider: How gratitude can help you get the life you really want’ (to be honest all I really want to know is where she gets her great clothes). I ordered them both at the same time time – jeepers, I must have been having a really bad day, or the moon must have been in retrograde or something. I’ll admit I haven’t really got stuck into the Manifest book yet, which probably explains the last messy chapter for this week which goes a bit like this... once we had decided on Hermione I promptly went online and bought some class of a costume (I’m blushing even more now). The next day for some reason I checked the email details only to discover it was due to arrive the day after bloody Book Day. By now I was in so deep (and the only think I wanted to manifest was a G&T), there was nothing for it but to buy another one from another website with an earlier delivery date. I’ve now become the sort of person I would openly snigger at for their complete lack of any sense. Someone, anyone, just throw the book at me.

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