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What not to wear for Book Week

It's Book Week next week and Friday is the day I've been dreading. Sure, we'll all have a lovely time designing book covers, writing reviews and listening to authors plug their latest novels. The kids will rave about reading, and Book Week 2004 will officially be hailed as a roaring success.

But next Friday is come-to-school-dressed-as-your-favourite-book-character day. I so can't wait.

Yes, I know the little ones look dead cute in their costumes, but the staff too? I don't think so. Last year our deputy came as a pink fairy and discovered she was due on a course, Ron cycled through the rush-hour traffic dressed as a hobbit, and Mike did playground duty in drag to the delight of the wolf-whistling parents at the gate.

I just hope no one suggests going to the pub at lunchtime - I think we're still barred since Book Week 2002.

On Friday morning my classroom will be full of little Dorothys, Cowardly Lions and Tin Men wrapped in baking foil who'll have to stand up all day.

(Funny how The Wizard of Oz is suddenly every child's favourite book when they need to think up a costume.) Incidentally, I've banned scarecrows this year - if the cleaners have to work overtime again, it will definitely be the last straw (excuse the pun).

There is always one child who turns up wearing a football kit. "Yes, Dilbert, I'm sure you do have his autobiography at home, but that still doesn't make David Beckham a book character."

And of course there will be the usual elaborate outfits hired at great parental expense from the fancy dress shop, even though my class know I expect them to use their creative talents by making their own costumes.

Bit hypocritical really. My creativity peaked during my phase of being a Mary (not too tricky for me). A stroppy expression transformed me into Mary Mary Quite Contrary for Book Week 2000.

The following year, I nicked one of the props from the nativity box and came as Mary Had a Little Lamb.

The year after that, same old lamb but hey presto - this time I was Little Bo Peep.

Unable to stretch another year out of the lamb, in 2003 I became Macbeth's worst nightmare with the help of a black dress, scary make-up and purple finger nails (same old Mary then).

So Book Week 2004? Let me think. Have I still got my stuff from last year.

Wasn't there a witch or something in The Wizard of Oz?

That has always been my favourite book - honest.

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