You know what? A lot of kids assemblies at school are pretty dire. When you’ve gone to a lot of them – especially with a wriggly, unhappy toddler dragged along – it gets to a point where there’s only so much school spirit you can really muster, for the promise of seeing your own child stand up for 10 seconds holding a painting.
But Children’s Book Week is the school event that I most look forward to, and I always enjoy. Raeli went as The Worst Witch this year, which is especially lovely because those are the books which have really kicked her into Love Love Loving to read chapter books, as opposed to merely tolerating the process as the second-best option after comics.
She not only dressed herself this morning, in the long witch dress my mother found for her a year or two ago in a second hand shop (it is one of the best purchases she has ever made Raeli – so useful!), but also showed a marvellous sense of attitude and initiative. Sure, the black hat was a bit ragged around the edges, but that only made it feel more like it belonged to Mildred Hubble! And yes, her hair is short, but she carefully chose the volume in which Mildred’s hair is hacked off and restored with a spell. At school, she delightedly showed her teacher how the soft toy tiger who was “playing” Tabby was completely unable to stay on the broom – just like the real thing!
Her attitude was really extra-appreciated when her beloved broom fell to bits and we had to use sticky tape to fix it. ALSO AUTHENTIC FOR MILDRED.
Raeli’s school is one of the biggest in the state, and it’s very rare that we get the entire lot under one roof. Previous Book Week Parades have been held outside, and not included the kinder kids who had their own mini-version. But this year we all packed wonderfully into the gym (anyone who bitches about the Rudd school buildings initiative back in the middle of the GFC has me to answer to – it was an amazing and incredibly necessary addition to our school) and the tiny ones got to march around with the others.
I was blown away by how many kids had dressed up – especially the elder ones, where self-consciousness can have a serious rate of attrition for this sort of thing – many wearing bought costumes leftover from parties, and many in homemade, from assembled garments all the way through to full on artistic masterpieces.
The teachers put on a particularly spectacular show this year, with our MC wearing a marvellous Maleficent costume complete with headdress, our normally elegant-and-business-suited principal in a teddy bear suit, and two teachers waving the flag for The Coat, this year’s CBCA winner in the picture book category (written and illustrated by Tasmanians!). The Hungry Caterpillar costume on one of the kinder teachers was also extraordinary.
So many pirates and fairies and and superheroes and animals and Alices and Dorothys and Willy Wonkas, a Wonky Donkey made entirely out of paper, and even a Giant Peach. It was simply splendid.
This wasn’t the only Children’s Book Week event I attended – I also got to swan around at the CBCA reception at Government House earlier in the week, which involved drinkies, oysters, quail legs and some ‘fancy schmancey’ chandeliers… but I’m afraid that even that spectacular catering and splendid grown up elegance doesn’t quite compete with the joy of seeing a kindergarten kid with a home-made Davros costume, clutching a copy of Doctor Who Magazine – or realising that the boy with the stuffed toy and the box is TOTALLY CALVIN AND HOBBES OMG.
Also we found Wally six times, and apparently kids still read Pippi Longstocking. The world is an awesome place today.
Meanwhile, over at Livia Day’s blog, I am reminiscing about my first literary schoolgirl detective – not Nancy Drew, but Trixie Belden!