I love World Book Day ! It's a celebration of books so what's not to love? I love that World Book Day has become a big celebrat...

Easy World Book Day Costumes

Monday, February 25, 2019 BookBairn 5 Comments

I love World Book Day! It's a celebration of books so what's not to love? I love that World Book Day has become a big celebration that most schools and nurseries in the UK take part in, I love that all children get a £1 book token which they can redeem against the £1 books created by authors and illustrators and starring characters that they know and love or they can put that £1 towards a book of their choice. This is brilliant. I love that their are online masterclasses with authors and illustrators inspiring children all over the country to enjoy reading and writing (it's hard to beat an author visit for inspiration and a video chat means everyone has access to that!). I love that schools and nurseries celebrate books, often all week, with reading challenges, and games and fun. I even love the dressing up. 

But I do not love the pressure on parents to buy a ready-made costume in supermarkets. Often costing £15 or more. Think how many books you could buy with that? 2, 3, 4? Wouldn't it be better to buy the books to celebrate rather than feeling pressured into buying a costume just for the day? And in fairness I think that's what World Book Day is aiming to be about, and especially this year a lot of the promotions have been focussed on their share a story tagline. 

I've gathered together books off of our shelves with characters that will make great, easy and cheap World Book Day costumes. World Book Day costumes made easy for you. So you can save the costume money and buy a(nother) book instead. Also these are great for kids who aren't so keen on dressing up: last year BookBairn (who is now a dressing up princess!) point blank refused to wear a typical costume so she went as one of these characters utilising things we already owned! And we went to the bookshop and spent our token and another couple of quid on the £1 books for her age range. And they are great if you are looking for something last minute!

Anyway, enough waffling from me... (Except to say if you save on a costume and buy one of these books instead you will be far richer - they are also all great stories!!)

Stardust by Jeanne Willis & Briony May Smith is the book that inspired BookBairn's makeshift costume last year when she refused to get dressed up. But all I had to do was find a turquoise T-shirt and some jeans in her wardrobe and we already had some star hair clips. Easy! And a last minute lifesaver. It's also an awesome book about how we are all made of stardust and therefore we all shine in our own ways!

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers is a firm favourite of ours and look how easy it would be to create a costume (or repurpose a Where's Wally costume!) with just a red and white striped jumper and hat and some jeans. And an umbrella and a cuddly penguin would just finish it off perfectly. This is also one of my favourite books about friendship. 

Edie by Sophy Henn is perfect for children who enjoy a quirky costume! All you need is a red hat (and the creative of you could rustle up a pom pom for the top), a yellow top, navy skirt and some red socks. And if your child loves a fancy dress-up, then let them go wild in the dressing up box and add some accesories of their own - Edie-style! It's also a great, and funny, book about a helpful little girl and her almost always patient parents!

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies stars a lovely little boy called Noi who finds a whale washed up on the beach. And all you need is a blue and white striped top, jeans and a black hat. Yellow mac jacket and cuddly whale are optional. This is another great book about friendship!

His Royal Tinyness by Sally Lloyd-Jones & David Roberts is the story of an attention-starved princess! All you need is a purple dress and a pair of tights to wear on your head, yellow-preferable but given the character's personality I suspect she wouldn't care. This book is also a great story about getting a new sibling and sharing the limelight as well as making a teammate to last a lifetime.

The Lumberjack's Beard by Duncan Beedie stars a lumberjack with a huge beard. So a beard really is a necessary part of the costume! But other than that a red (maybe checked) shirt and a hat with ear flaps will complete the look. If you want to take things a little further you might want to add some small stuffed toys to the beard for them to take up their new homes. This is a great story about a Lumberjack who cuts down the trees leaving the animals homeless so he gives them refuge in his beard - a wonderful message about environmental impact and deforestation.

Odd Bods by Steven Butler and Jarvis has a whole host of crazy characters that your little one could dress up as. And as they are all a little odd, there's no reason why you couldn't throw together some crazy combinations from your kid's wardrobe. It's a great alphabetical rhyming poem about a whole cast of odd balls and about being unique!

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival is a story about a boy who is hiding his wings because he's ashamed of them so all you need is a colourful set of wings to bring Norman to life! And with such a great message about self-worth and accepting yourself this is a book you must have so why not use this as an excuse to pick up a copy. Also Ruby's Worry by the same author would be a great book to dress up as for World Book Day - all you need is a blue cloud to follow you around!

Rosie Revere, Engineer and Ada Twist, Scientist (along with Iggy Peck, Architect, which we don't have yet) by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts are all wonderful characters for dressing up for World Book Day. Rosie stands out in her red headscarf and Ada in her red and white spotted dress and Iggy in his black polo neck, they are all easy to emulate. And the stories are truly brilliant! All have messages of being true to yourself and following your own passions and with more books coming to the collection and new chapter books too these are characters that you will enjoy reading over and over.

Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen stars a little girl with very big hair! So big in fact that she keeps a lot of stuff, including doughnuts stuffed in there! If you're not lucky enough to have big hair of your own you need little more than a big wig and a yellow mac jacket to pull off this awesome look. This book also stars one of our favourite mighty girls so we highly recommend you read this one.

All these are based on picture books as they are the books I am more familiar with, having two very young readers myself. But for older readers I have a few book-tips that might help based on books that I have enjoyed reading myself.

Firstly, almost anything by Roald Dahl stars a lead character that is a human - making it inifintely easier to come up with a costume at the last moment - Matilda, Charlie, James, Danny, George - all require just a few props to give the idea of a costume with little effort. If it were me I would definitely be dressing up as one of the characters from the Beetle Boy series by MG Leonard because, if you haven't read those books you will absolutely love them, and the children are normal children who have lots of beetles - so you simply need a pack of plastic beetles and pin them on a top. Another book I enjoyed and would buy rather than a costume is The Explorer by Katherine Rundell - kids that get lost after a plane crash in the amazon rainforest so you just need to look a bit scruffy, rough and ready, and perhaps a snake/spider prop or two would bring these characters to life. Another book I read and loved aimed at young readers was A Place Called Perfect by Helena Duggan and this only requires a pair of rose-tinted glasses! And the book is so so good!

So instead of spending a lot of money on costumes, treat your kids to some really great books.

Just one last thing - make sure you enjoy a story together on World Book Day, because that's what it's all about!

Hope you have a wonderful World Book Day!
Kim and the bairns x

Disclaimer: these are all our choices. Some were sent from publishers (others are books that I have bought myself) but they were not sent in connection with this post. Their inclusion here is my choice. Because I really do think they are great and would make easy costumes. Please read our Review Policy  if you want to know more. 

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  1. Great selection of books for World Book Day. I think I could easily dress up as Mr Twit.

  2. What a lovely selection of ideas and brilliant to see ones that aren't the 'norm'.

  3. Great selection of books. I’m currently working on a Lost & Found costume for my LO as she read this book as one of her class books last term and loved it!

  4. I have to be honest and say that I'm really really happy that I don't have to organise any more WBD costumes, ever again. My youngest went into secondary school in September and they don't dress up there!
    Don't get me wrong, I love WBD because I love books and I've read to all my children from when they were babies, but WBD costumes just caused me stress and I'm happy that's been taken away!

  5. These are great ideas, really creative! #readwithme