Children's Book Week: the lazy parent's guide to a great costume

Of course Jackie French suggests going to Book Week as a wombat.
Of course Jackie French suggests going to Book Week as a wombat. Photo: Supplied

Trust Jackie French to suggest a wombat costume for Children's Book Week.

"Go as a wombat," she says. "Brown clothes, crayon brown wombat nose and wombat whiskers, brown stockings over hair knotted at either side to make ears."

The former Australian Children's Laureate, and author of many books - five of her books were entered in this year's Children's Book Council of Australia awards - also suggested grabbing a sheet and a bay leaf wreath to go as an ancient Roman or a zombie which could be done with make up and last week's not-yet-done washing…

Which Mr Men character are you?
Which Mr Men character are you? Photo: Supplied

Now we're talking … last week's washing … for there's nothing that brings more fear into a parent's heart than hearing the words "I need a Book Week Costume next week" … well, apart from at Easter and something about the bonnet parade.

Children's Book Week runs from August 19-26, 2017, and the theme this year is "Escape to Everywhere", but, assuming your school is celebrating Book Week, face it - there is no escape.

So we've compiled the last minute guide to Book Week costumes.

Thank you, Harry Potter

A cape, a scar, a wand, and you're done. You could be Harry, Hermoine, or Ron. Take your pick. Maybe grab a broom and a gold foil-wrapped tennis ball and you're off to play quidditch. Better still, go as a muggle. No costume needed. No prizes for being the 20th Harry in the parade but Book Week is not about winning. It's not.

Cardboard rules

Buy two pieces of cardboard, a bit of tape over the shoulders, to make an instant sandwich board. Now let your imagination run wild. We like the idea of turning it into a bookcover, or how about a one-dimensional character from the Mr Men series? Here's a good quiz to help you decide which one.

Who needs a costume

Think about all your favourite regular kid characters. Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jacqueline Harvey's fabulous heroine Alice Miranda, or Tom Gates? Go back to a classic: what about Anne of Green Gables, or Laura Ingalls... just borrow a long skirt from mum and a nice blouse, perhaps an apron and tie your hair in plaits.


Or if you have a costume

We know a friend who raids the dress up box for a favourite costume and then heads to the library to find a book that fits the theme. Everyone has a crown, or a witch's hat, or a cowboy hat in the dress-up box. Possibilities are endless. And a good excuse to head to the library. But, whatever you do, don't succumb to sending your kid to school as Batman or Spiderman. Sure comics are reading material, but it's Book Week.


A simple mask can get you out of trouble in a flash. Here's a template for Fantastic Mr Fox, and one for Willy, our favourite Anthony Browne character, or what about the Gruffalo? You don't even have to go to the trouble of matching the rest of your outfit. Think about hair too. Ella Kazoo Will Not Brush Her Hair is a great book, don't wash or comb hair over the weekend and you've got this one under control. Or a Katniss Everdeen braid.

Find the book to match your costume.
Find the book to match your costume. Photo: Supplied

That one parent

Just know there'll always be that one parent who will go way over the top. Some might be prepared to spend a little money on a costume (spend money on books instead people). We liked this selection of The Wizard of Oz costumes. Check out the Flying Monkey. But then there's the parent who sets the bar and actually constructs a costume. Like this bi-plane. The Red Baron would definitely fly away with the prize. But it's not about winning.