Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning

The view from the table was glorious this morning.  High excitement as the school uniform was abandoned. “For the whole day?”
“Even the shoes?!”
And fancy dress costumes took the centre stage.

If you have children of school age then you’ll know that today is World Book Day.  You may have also been running around, ripping up bits of old clothes and fancy dress costumes, searching high and low for lime green tights to fashion something that resembles the character of your child’s favourite book.  Last year I found myself in the bizarre situation of threading pipe cleaners and wire into Pippy Longstocking’s hair.  It didn’t work so a pulley system of fishing wire was used instead; it worked a treat.

I know that it can be a lot of work and I know that many parents get really cheesed off with having to find endless costumes for this and that at school, but I love it.  As an adult there’s not that many opportunities for skipping down the road with a toy dog in a basket, a feather in your cap or a pair of ruby slippers that can be clicked together whenever the need arises, and as an adult you know how short those years of opportunity really are.

So I say bring on the homemade costumes that are wonky, that perhaps take a minute or two – and a whisper in the ear – to recognise what they are, that are clearly fashioned from  half price school uniform items from Matalan, that have been the talk of the table for days on end.

Last year a fellow blogger called Mike who often leaves comments on my blog left one on this post about my daughter Amber dividing her time between The Hobbit and a cupcake book.  He recited this poem. I’d never heard it before and although the poem is about boys, I see it as indicative of all children. It struck such a chord in me of this precious and short time of filling young minds with wonder, possibility and imagination that it brought tears to my eyes.  It seems fitting for World Book Day.

The Reading Mother
by Strickland Gillilan
I had a mother who read to me
Sagas of pirates who scoured the sea,
Cutlasses clenched in their yellow teeth,
“Blackbirds” stowed in the hold beneath
I had a mother who read me lays
Of ancient and gallant and golden days;
Stories of Marmion and Ivanhoe,
Which every boy has a right to know.
I had a mother who read me tales
Of Gelert the hound of the hills of Wales
True to his trust till his tragic death,
Faithfulness lent with his final breath.
I had a mother who read me the things
That wholesome life to the boy heart brings –
Stories that stir with an upward touch.
Oh. That each mother of boys were such!
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be – 
I had a mother who read to me.


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