Today was World Book Day.
A wonderful day when booksellers get to exchange special books created just for the day for pieces of paper given out as £1 world book day tokens at schools up and down the land.
It's also a day, at Molly's school and many others where children get to dress up as their favourite book character.
Or, if Molly school is anything to go by, they get to dress up in whatever costume they have available / whatever they're into right now / something that's easy to put together at the last minute.
Because I'm pretty sure these are not valid World BOOK Day costumes: Hannah Montana, Jack Sparrow and Luke Skywalker.
This morning at school I lost count of the number of Harry Potters and Hermione Graingers I saw. There's also a large number of generic costumes which I don't think count either: Mummies, Pirates, Princesses etc.
As we've detailed before, Molly decided that this year she wanted to go as a Peanuts character. Charlie Brown was out. Snoopy was too difficult to do. So we settled on Lucy Van Pelt.
We thought it was pretty good. Certainly the biggest prop her teacher had ever seen. She was given express instructions that it was not to be used as a horse, not to be waved around, not to hit people with it and be careful with the end of it when she turns round. Miraculously she did not take anyone's eye out.
Personally I think she got a bit fed up with explaining who the hell she was all day to everyone, but we think she had a fine time today.
After school it was off to the local bookshop; Simply Books of Pocklington. It's a lovely, independent bookshop and we'll always try and put money their way whenever we can. In fact I felt guilty about going in there and just spending our £1 voucher on the Captain Underpants book Molly wanted. I'm well aware that booksellers are making a loss on every £1 book they take a voucher for and I imagine it hits the independents far more than it hits the big boys. So we also sprang for Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants (with the added bonus of some lovely Mark Buckingham artwork) and a full price book Molly liked the look of.
And while we're on the subject of Neil Gaiman and free books - Neil's Journal has a series of posts debating the merits of Neil putting some of his work online for free (it's American Gods - complete, for free, although in a format that physically hurts to read it - here). I'm all for this sort of thing as I firmly believe that anything that gets people reading will result, long term, in more people reading and inevitably, more people buying. All the evidence I need for this is my own life. I was introduced to the library in Dudley at a very early age by Dad and have used libraries ever since to investigate new authors and old favourites. But I still spend money on books. In fact, I probably spend more on books now than I use the library, but being introduced to so many different authors fostered a great love of reading and that's something any bookseller worth their salt can make money from.
All in all, a great day after a series of bloody horrible ones.