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Grape expectations and brilliant disguises all part of the passing parade


Whether you’re a Lowly Worm or a bunch of grapes, Book Week fashion can be fraught territory, writes, Rebecca Levingston

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Book Week beckons. Wild things, wizards and – as always – Where’s Wally will feature.

When I was a kid, for some reason, my mother dressed me up as a bunch of grapes. Leotard, leaf on head and approximately 30 fully inflated green balloons. I can only assume they popped at inconvenient times and locations throughout the school day. Who was I?

Next week, schools across the state will open their gates to a cavalcade of characters. I love school pick-up during Book Week because you get to see kids wandering through the playground, completely uninhibited in full costume. Some have gone to extreme lengths. Others have a label strapped to their chest to explain who they are. No judgment mums and dads – I know you’re busy. Little faces will be obscured by giant box heads and wigs. Discomfort will be discarded for the day as parent and child commit to the costume.

Kate confessed on a Book Week Twitter thread that she made her boy into a robot with a long thin cardboard body from one of Andy Griffiths’ books a few years ago. He did not sit down all day.

My friend Sarah is despairing because her son wants to dress up as Lowly Worm.

“The first worst thing your child can say when they come home from school is ‘Next Monday is Book Week parade’,” she lamented. “The next worst thing they can say is I want to go as Lowly Worm.” This is a creature who has no arms, no legs yet gets around in a hat and a single red shoe.

Instantly, a barrage of helpful ideas from other more experienced Book Week veterans arrived.

“Sleeping bag,” suggested Terri. “Though mobility could be an issue.”

“Pool noodles,” said Annie. She’d done this before.

“Tied to the child?” Sarah wanted to know.

Michelle is more ambitious. “I’m seeing torso as the head of Lowly and the rest is attached to the child’s hips and operated marionette style – black pants for puppeteer effect.”

Good luck Sarah.

Adults still wear costumes.

You’re judging the get-up of political leaders who are fashioning their own parade right now. Fluoro vests and hardhats were favourites in the first week of the election campaign. Casual barbecue costumes will get a run on weekends. Let’s see what else features in the coming weeks and who has the most believable kit.

Fashion is fraught territory for politicians. Remember when Lawrence Springborg ditched his duds and ironed shirtless? His topless pose was “just a bit of fun” according to the then-opposition leader. I’m not sure too many Queensland MPs are keen to recreate his behind the scenes reveal. Although Deputy Premier Steven Miles looks like he spends a decent amount of time in a gym according to one keen observer following the social media feeds of the leaders. Make no mistake, the outfits and photos that flash up on your Facebook and Instagram are carefully curated.

As politicians dress up and preparations for Book Week get under way, a completely different suit of armour is being put on this week in Brisbane by those participating in public hearings of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

The focus of the hearings is on barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education. The evidence is harrowing and important. It reveals circumstances where dilemmas over favourite book character costumes would be a welcome change from trauma. I hope all politicians are keeping their eyes and ears on the true stories being told.

And to the families who fight every day for the best chance for their children, I see your crowns.

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