Thursday was World Book Day when parents everywhere put on their brightest smiles as they struggled to come up with a book-related outfit for their eager off-spring to wear to school. I loved seeing the results of
their stalwart efforts on Facebook and WhatsApp - my favourite being a young man named William who dressed as that multi-coloured elephant Elmer. Complete with trunk. I love, love, love that elephant! He is an inspiration to Everything Grey.
The Middle of the Darling Daughters has an interesting approach to World Book Day. She asks the Rascally Trio to rummage through their supply of dressing-up clothes and decide what
they want to wear - then comes up with an appropriate book to match their outfit. This required, I imagine, a fairly extensive knowledge of junior literature but does ensure the happy acceptance of the young’uns. I know from personal experience how important
this acceptance is. I am still scarred (well, not really, but you know what I mean) by the memory of the Fancy Dress competition at the Staplehurst Carnival and Fête many moons ago. The Youngest of the Darling Daughters (aged 4) was supposed to be entering
as Little Miss Muppet - complete with bowl, wooden spoon and a fantastically realistic giant spider, cleverly manufactured from black wool by Yours Truly, pinned to her best party dress. Come the parade, she flatly refused to carry the bowl and spoon, then
insisted on the removal of the spider. Everyone commented that she looked adorable - but just had to ask: “Who exactly is she supposed to be?” I seem to remember a little lad dressed up as Winston Churchill carried off the first prize so I doubt
even the spider, in all its eight-legged knitted glory, would have made a difference...
Incidentally, the Middle of the Darling Daughters has form when it comes
to ingenious solutions to the Problems of Motherhood. Yesterday it was Faris the Rascal’s eighth birthday - and, as everybody knows, birthdays mean cake. Except that Our Rascal doesn’t like cake (I know, I know...) Not to be defeated, his proud
mamma made her little son a quite magnificent cake - made out of jelly! Watching the cake ceremony from a distance, via FaceTime (what would we do without technology in Lockdown?) I couldn’t resist following up the traditional singing of Happy Birthday,
with my own rendition of that excellent rhyme “Jelly on a plate.” You never know, it might just catch on...
Not to be outdone by all the costumes paraded
by littl’uns celebrating World Book Day, I reprised my own Dress Up Experience during the Summer Reading Challenge at our local library two years ago where I delighted (scared? bewildered? astonished?) all the children by dressing up as Dennis the Menace
from The Beano. Except that today we aren’t allowed to call him a “Menace” - despite the fact that he undoubtedly was, once upon a time.
last year the pesky pandemic put paid to the Summer Reading Challenge as we know it. I think there may have been an on-line version but I wasn’t required to sit at the Volunteers desk in the library, welcoming all the eager readers, listening to them
relating (sometimes at considerable length) the plots of the latest books they had read, and handing out exciting rewards in the shape of smelly stickers. Oh, how I missed it - my favourite way to spend seven weeks of the Summer Holiday. Books and children
- two of my favourite things. No wonder the Summer Holiday Challenge was right up my street.
The theme for 2021 has been announced - it’s Wild World Heroes
and it’s been developed in conjunction with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF.) It aims to inspire children to stand up for the future of the planet and will start in libraries on Saturday 10th July.
At the moment, sadly, they don’t appear to be asking for volunteers - but I think I’ll start looking for a panda costume just in case...