SO here’s the thing. As a Festival Director of a children’s book festival, everyone but everyone expects me to bring my best game when it comes to World Book Day costumes. People don’t quite realise that it’s our busiest time of year trying to ensure everything is ready for the best Bournville BookFest ever!

I have had some of my most stressful – and dare I share it most shameful – moments as a parent desperately trying to scrabble around and get 3 different World Book Day costumes ready – from Hiccup from How to Train your Dragon to The Cat in the Hat.

Quite possibly the worst year was 2015 when Nick Sharratt was visiting Bournville BookFest and our children’s school decided all the children should dress up as a character from one of Nick or Jacqueline Wilson’s books. Honestly, some of the creations were amazing. Our kids? Well, it’s best not to dwell on it too much as it still causes me embarrassment.

Needless to say my seeming lack of costume effort was duly noted by other parents and my protests that “I’m too busy organising a great BookFest and hosting Nick Sharratt!” fell on entirely deaf ears. Nick himself was very gracious about it. Yes, our kids really did stand out lack sore thumbs!

So you can imagine my delight when this year 6 year old daughter Alice declared she wanted to dress up as Mary Poppins and then she found a full Mary Poppins costume in our local St Mary’s Hospice charity shop. Honestly, the Good Lord was smiling me on that day.

So here’s to a less stressful World Book Day where we already had the costume and could just concentrate on having fun with props – a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, and a tape measure with “Mary Poppins. Practically Perfect in Every Way”.

My advice to any busy parent is don’t be afraid to buy a costume and then have fun with the props!