We had a bittersweet day today at St Michael’s School.
It was, of course, World Book Day and I was so delighted and heartened to see so many children dressed up as their favourite character from a book. Most children were in a costume of some kind and the staff also went to huge lengths to join in the spirit of the day.
We were supposed to have the fantastic Duncan Beedie celebrate with us today but the Beast from the East became just too beastly for the train networks and Duncan was stranded at Bristol. I am glad it happened there, though, rather than en route, which would have been awful. I tried my best to fill in for him and the children are looking forward to him visiting after Easter.
The day kicked off with a special assembly, where we could admire all the costumes. The staff stood up and explained why they had chosen their character and it was so interesting to hear the stories behind the choices. Here are just some of them:
Mrs Owen – Headteacher – came as a suffragette, based on Mary Poppins, but more the film than the book (the children’s mother wasn’t a suffragette in the book as she was the film). It’s an important year in the celebration of women’s suffrage so this outfit was well timed!
Mrs Smith – Reception teacher – came as Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web. Ms Smith explained to us that she wasn’t always the bibliophile that she is now but a teacher she initially disliked but grew in her estimation was responsible for her love of literature and introduced her to this classic. Ever since reading Charlotte’s Web, Ms Smith has been a vegetarian – an impressive 18 years.
Ann – Year 5 TA – Ann came as a baby because she just adores babies and hopes she will have grandchildren soon! She based her costume on a couple of books – Zagazoo and Where do Babies Come From? The children were particularly amused by her outfit,
Anesh – Year 6 TA – the most revoltingly impressive costume belonged to Anesh, who came as Mr Twit from The Twits. His hair was a wig but his beard was real and had real food smudged into it – which disgusted the children so much that he was forced to wash it all out.
Narelle – school cook – came as Chicken Licken. Narelle always goes flat out on her costumes for World Book Day and did not disappoint today. Reassuringly, she removed the costume while cooking lunch (the onesie looked very hot), though ironically the menu for today was, er, sweet and sour chicken.
Here are some pictures of the staff:
When Baby met Chicken Licken
Anesh makes a truly genuine Mr Twit here
I chose to be Jacquotte Delahaye, from Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, as I couldn’t resist the temptation of being a female pirate. Delahaye earned herself the reputation of being a fearless pirate and at one point faked her own death because she had so many enemies. She found it difficult to stay in hiding with such red hair and decided to come back to life, earning herself the nickname ‘Back from the Dead Red’. I don’t have a pic of myself in full costume but here’s a pic of my wig (to which I was allergic, and forced me to rely on Benadryl the entire day as my throat closed up!).
My allergy-inducing wig
I have more pictures from the day, which I will go through and post soon. Amongst the children there were the usual Where’s Wally(s), Harry Potters, Hermione Grangers, Matildas, princesses and Pippi Longstockings. One of the Pippis was special to me, though, as the girl who wore the outfit only recently discovered the books, thanks to our initiative to take away the ‘popular’ books. She wasn’t sure what to read and I suggested Astrid Lindgren’s classic as she likes animals. She fell in love with the book and decided to come as the quirky character. This is so rewarding, to see how books can really influence a reader! We also had a couple of Laura Ingalls Wilders, a Hagrid (fantastic but surely hot wig and beard), a peach from James and the Giant Peach, a boy who was the image of Tintin, complete with characteristic hair quiff and dog, and a few Alex Riders too.
As our literary festival draws to a close (it might end today if we cannot open the school tomorrow because of snow), I think it’s fair to say that it has been a huge success. We’ve had some fantastic authors visit – Angela Kecojevic and Gill Arbuthnott – the promise of a visit from poor Duncan Beedie in the near future (devastated to miss his school dinner), and creative costumes from the children and staff alike.
We also ran a cake sale Tuesday after school, at which we raised nearly £95 in aid of the charity Book Trust thanks to the wonderful baking skills of the children and parents, and the generosity (and hungry tummies!) of the children!
Cake and jellies on sale – nothing remained 15 minutes later!
On Wednesday afternoon, we ran a book swap, where we asked children to bring in a book from home so they could exchange it for a different one. Our aim, and hope, was for each child in the school to go home with a book – and we achieved it! We have some books remaining and we will be finding homes for those very soon.
Book swap in the library – all surfaces covered!
Today, Blackwell’s kindly came to school with copies of the World Book Day books that children can swap with their token. We like to do this as it ensures that children who might not otherwise get into town or into a bookshop are able to make use of this lovely access to a free book.
As the snow continues to flurry upon Oxford, and Storm Emma awaits in the wings, all that remains for me to do is to thank everyone – visitors, staff, pupils and friends and families – for their support of this marvellous week. May it be the first of many!