Friday, 3 March 2017

World Book Day, Princesses And Superheroes

As I walked my daughter into school on World Book Day I looked around at the Disney princesses, the Spider-Men and an assortment of other superheroes and I tutted to myself. Yes there are books of all these characters, but surely a book should come before the film or TV programme when we are talking World BOOK Day. I'm not really sure comics count as books either. 

A 5 year old girl in a pale blue dress with white apron and white tights and a black hairband sitting next to a Disney Alice In Wonderland book

Yes I was having a judgemental morning, but I was grateful my daughter was dressed as Alice from Alice in Wonderland. She may have been clutching a Disney book based on the film based on the book, and her outfit may have been closer to Alice in the animated film than in John Tenniel’s illustrations in Lewis Carroll’s book, but that's ok because the book predates the film by many years. In fact the book predates the first motion picture on film.

So smug old me stood at the school gates and started having a chat with the mother of Darth Vader. The conversation about the weather quickly turned to us being impressed with the effort some families had gone to. A few children were wearing handcrafted papermache masterpieces, but most parents in Reception had taken the same option as us and embraced the easy, but unoriginal store bought costumes. 

Mrs Vader explained how she had wanted her son to be Peter Pan and she showed me the costume in her bag, but her son had other ideas. She hadn't wanted to spend money on a new costume when he had so many superhero outfits already so she searched charity shops and the only suitable costume she could find was Peter Pan. And her son rejected it. 

The previous year she had insisted her son wore a costume from a book and wasn’t a superhero, but when they arrived at to Nursery half the class were dressed as characters from Marvel or DC Universe so she let him change (being a wise mum she had brought the other costume just in case). How could she insist her son dressed up as a "book character" when other parents didn't? 

Again I found myself grateful that my daughter had been keen to wear an outfit we already had and one which was on theme, but I had lost my judgemental edge. How can we as parents insist our children don't do something when they can see others doing it? I find it enough of a struggle to get my daughter to school on time without having an argument about what she is going to wear.

I thought to myself does it really matter if children come as Chase from Paw Patrol or Elsa from Frozen? Does it matter if loving the TV Programme meant the child became interested in picking up the book? Surely the key part is they are interested in reading. Why should we as parents tell our children their favourite book isn’t good enough? A graphic novel, comic book or magazine can all encourage a life long love of reading and that is more important than any outfit.
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9 comments

  1. I think I'd be the same, I want my son to want to dress up as a book character but if all your friends are dressing as super heroes it's a big ask to get them to move away from that!!

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    1. Peer pressure, we should get them all to encourage each other to be Mr Men or something.

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  2. My girl dressed up as Where's Wally and I was a bit judgemental too. I know I shouldn't have been. It really doesn't matter.
    I saw something on ITV's This Morning earlier about a boy who loved The Cat in the Hat and read the story every night. He dressed up as the character and was bullied at school by boys dressed as superheroes for not being cool like them. I thought that was so sad. Now the boy is refusing to read the book that he loved so much...
    It's such a shame a dressing up day at school causes so much diversity.

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    1. Oh that's so sad about the boy on TV. It's great to see all the children dressing up, but I can appreciate how from a child's perspective it's an opportunity to be picked on. Why do kids have to conform to be cool though?

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  3. This is me every year, always having an internal conflict with regards to choosing a costume based on a movie an adaptation of a book or standing my ground and saying they must choose a book character. We all seem to find a compromise in the end ha!

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    1. I've said that next year she has to make her own costume, so it's going to be interesting what she chooses!

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  4. OH MY GOD YES!!!! Me and John had a really long chat the other night how we didn't understand that other little ones were always dressed as superheros, batman, spiderman etc. Surely they're too young to watch the films, so it could only be from parental input? Noahs fancy dress ranges from Doctors, to vets, to astronauts and firefighters. Not a comic book in sight.

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  5. My daughter is too young for this but I see what you mean. I would hope as long as they are something from any book then it's encouraging them to read / think about books more. #sundaybest

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  6. I've just had my first World Book Day and Noah asked to be Mr Tickle which I'm glad about! Most of the girls in his class were Disney princesses but no superheroes! It's so hard with children, they know what they want! Thank you for linking up to #SundayBest x

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