Thursday, 3 March 2016

World Book Day: The book Vs the comic

My little Captain Leo on World Book Day 2016
For many years, on this day, my Facebook timeline would be filled with cute children dressed in an array of costumes. I'd make the usual "ah" sound and hit the like button, maybe even write a little comment. Then I'd move on. However, this year I'm involved: my son has reached school-age and is, as I type, taking part in his first World Book Day.

I was only told last week that the children would be invited to dress up, so didn't have much time to let the creative juices flow. But fear not, the supermarkets were filled with costumes to take care of that problem. Or were they?

As I peered through the selection I was amazed, and slightly disappointed, that what was on offer was characters from The Avengers, Star Wars, Minions and Frozen. Now while I completely understand children like to dress up and have fun, I can't remember reading about any of these characters in a book! They are comic and film characters first and foremost. So while there may be some books featuring them as a merchandise ploy, I feel it's a bit of a cheat... there I said it.

Parents will roll their eyes at my view and kids will call me the boring mum (poor Leo!), but it's how I feel. There are so many wonderful books to choose from, why choose a comic?

So, what did Leo dress up as? Although the picture gives it away somewhat, I'll explain anyway.

Leo's favourite character has always been Peter Rabbit, so I took it for granted he would choose that. No, of course he said he wanted to be the Hulk (who doesn't, right?). And it dawned on me; while I may be a book lover (and I hope as he grows Leo will be too), right now three year-olds want fun and colour and excitement. For them, the likes of Peter Rabbit and Oliver Twists just 'ain't cutting it.

Therefore, we reached a compromise. Leo dressed up as a pirate, and he believes it's because he likes the book Pirates Love Underpants and that swashbuckling show on CBeebies, (but I chose to ignore that). For me, Leo went to school as Captain Hook - Peter Pan's arch-enemy. Now, while I know the story has been on stage, TV and made into a film (or three!), the character is ultimately from an enchanting classic book about a boy who didn't want to grow up.


  1. Interesting post but the title makes it look like you're conflating comics with movies of comics. There are plenty of inspiring and hugely diverse comics out there that haven't yet been made into cartoons or films and it would be a shame to discount them. For some reluctant readers a comic that combines visual flair and words together may be the perfect entry point to explore more novels.

    1. Great point. Comics shouldn't be discounted when it comes to reading, and are a possible entry into novels. However, I just feel that dressing as a comic, film or cartoon character on World Book Day doesn't encourage children to read books. But totally take your opinion on board.