A lot has been written about World Book Day, and rightly so.
A celebration of authors, illustrators, books and reading. Shared in over one hundred countries. A beautifully uncomplicated premise in an otherwise complicated world.
And yet, like any parade, some people can’t wait to piss on it. The main target of their ire? Dressing up.
Across social media they bemoaned the influence of Disney, bewailed the rise of the Superhero and mourned the death of their own literary heroes.
In most cases it was well intentioned, but more than a few smacked of downright snobbery.
I’m no expert on EYFS, nor do I have any experience other than that as a parent, but I can tell you what I witnessed at school on Thursday.
The playground was indeed awash with questionable costumes. Like a Frozen convention had been double booked with a Marvel Avengers Assembly (see what I did there!)
But I also spent the afternoon in their classroom.
I saw thirty children enthralled by Michael Rosen’s Chocolate Cake poem; at the behest of Batman.
Half-a-dozen Elsa’s sat open-mouthed, immersed in the imagination of Oliver Jeffers.
And on my table, Iron Man talked passionately about his love of The Gruffalo. Spiderman gave Goldilocks and the Three Bears an ending far funnier than the original. And Elsa read to me from the Frozen annual with such enthusiasm I thought she might wet herself with excitement.
And therein lies my point. The costumes are just a distraction. A smokescreen to what really matters. A reflection on social culture more than the demise of literacy.
Whilst some write off an entire generation on social media, using less characters than the opening chapter of The Twits, children are developing a love of reading in their own unique way, and it’s a joy to see.
It might not be Huckleberry Finn or Christopher Robin, but once that passion for reading is sparked they’ll have their entire life to catch-up on what you think they should have read, and then draw their own conclusion on its worthiness. And who knows, they may even be wearing an Olaf onesie as they do so.
My point being, you wouldn’t judge a book by its cover, so why judge a kid by their costume?