Mother and Baby

19 books to inspire World Book Day costumes

Books to inspire World Book Day ideas

World Book Day is a celebration of our favourite childhood novels where children (and grown-ups) can dress up as their favourite story-book characters. With thousands of characters you could bring to life, the possibilities are endless and it can be very hard to find a costume that both you and your little one can agree on (and that is actually achieveable!). 

When is World Book Day?

This year, World Book Day lands on Thursday 4 March 2021. We can't wait to inspire children with classic tales, magical characters and shocking plot twists in some of our favourite books. If you're looking for a new read to inspire a World Book Day costume for your toddler, then you're in the right place. 

From traditional tales like Alice in Wonderland to more modern stories like the Julia Donaldson book series, there are so many characters your little one could become. 

Luckily, we've compiled a list of the best books and series that have plenty of character ideas in to get you started. Here are 19 book ideas for World Book Day 2021. 

Books to inspire your child's World Book Day costume

From Room on the Broom and The Gruffalo to Stick Man and Zog, Julia Donaldson and her illustrater Axel Scheffler have now written ten very successful books together that are loved by kids of all ages all around the world. Whether your little one wants to be a dragon, a witch, an alien, a worm a mouse - the seemingly unlimited quirky characters mean the possibilities are endless! 

Roald Dahl Books

£28.45 - RRP: £98.85

With books including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, fun characters are not in short supply when it comes to Roald Dahl stories. And whether you have the time to go to town on a bright and bold Oompa Loompa costume or an easy blue dress and ribbon for a Matilda costume, there's something for every child and a costume to suit everyone, no matter how short you are of time. 

The comedian has now released a number of very successful children's books, with some even being adapted for film. David really lets his imagination run wild with these brilliant books, providing readers with a huge range of fantastic characters to be inspired by for World Book Day. Kids could go down the comedy route as the Gangsta Granny or even Ratburger. 

Discover more of the best David Walliams books for kids. 

With seven books in the collection and eight films to take inspiration from, choosing a character from J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is a great option for both girls and boys. There are plenty of wizard and witch ideas including Harry, Ron, Hagrid, Dumbledore or Hermione. 

With Tweedledum and Tweedledee, The Cheshire Cat, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and of course, Alice - there are loads of iconic characters from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland for your little one to dress up as. You don't even have to go all out with an expensive costume if you can find a blue dress or you're talented with the facepaint, you can replicate one of these magical looks.  

Perhaps the easiest costume option is one of the Mr Men or Little Misses from Roger Hargreaves collection of 85 characters. There are plenty to choose from, including Little Miss Sunshine, Mr Bump, Mr Messy and Little Miss Chatterbox, all of which are easily achievable and it's a great idea to make the costume using cardboard. Simply make the character on a large circle of cardboard, big enough to cover your childs body. Use more cardboard or ribbon to connect the top for it to sit on your child's shoulders. 

Is your daughter inspired by the adventures of Mildred Hubble and the rest of the witches from Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch? Dressing up as one of the witches from the series is super simple. Plus, you can reuse the costume at Halloween! 

Written by Eric Carle, this book is perfect for very little ones and they're sure to look adorable in their little catepillar costume. As such an iconic children's book, their friends will know straight away who they're dressed up as! 

Another iconic character for small children is the tiger from the popular Judith Kerr book, The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Mini book fans could also dress as the tiger's small friend, Sophie! 

With 23 tales from her World of Peter Rabbit books, there are plenty of classic animal characters to give you some costume inspiration. Other than the ever so popular Peter Rabbit, children can dress up as Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten, Squirrel Nutkin, Mr Todd plus many more. 

For the more inventive and adventurous parent, the weird and wonderful characters from the books of Dr. Seuss will definitely have your kids standing out. Apart from the obvious Cat in the Hat, your little one could also dress up as Horton Hears a Who or a fish from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish or Blue Fish.

A. A. Milne Books

£37.99 - RRP: £149.99

Another ideal set of books to inspire the very little ones is the Winnie the Pooh collection. They can become a little Winnie the Pooh or Piglet for the day in an adorable costume that everyone will know and love. 

The Wizard of Oz

£11.79 - RRP: £12.99

Although you might only remember the iconic 1939 film starring Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz was in fact inspired by L. Frank Baum's 1900 novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz meaning all the wonderful characters can be used as World Book Day characters. Our favourites are the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Glinda the Good Witch and of course, Dorothy. 

Whether you're reading this classic to your younger kids or letting your older children dream up their own secret garden, follow Mary Lennox as she uncovers the truth about her past and learns how to tend to a garden, thanks to a magical robin and lots of friends along the way. Dressing your little one up as Mary, Dixon Sowerby or Ben Weatherstaff is an easy costume for World Book Day. 

From Charlotte to Wilbur and even Templeton, there are lots of fun ways you can help your little boy or girl bring this incredible novel to life. Help your children's imaginations run wild, while teaching them life lessons around friendship and bravery.

If you're thinking about taking inspiration from Neverland this World Book Day, then you have to treat your children to the original bedtime story. It's simply magical.

What a collection of fun books! Join Paddington on an adventure this World Book Day, thanks to Paddington – The Arrival, Paddington at Home, Paddington at the Seaside, Paddington Goes Shopping and of course, your little one's blue coat, red hat and wellies. 

Before the blockbuster film, The Hundred and One Dalmatians was a book adored by children all over the world. Whether or not you dress your kids up in dots or as the villain, Cruella de Vil - this novel will have your little ones enthralled during any storytime. 

Written over a hundred years ago, the Wind in the Willows remains a popular children's book to this day. Whether you're dressing your toddler up as Mr. Toad, Mr. Badger or even the mole, they'll love hearing or reading about the adventures while wearing their new costumes. 


National Book Day tokens

As of the 1 February, digital tokens are available for World Book Day. You can register for your toddler or older children here. Check out what books are available at worldbookdaysocial on Instagram. 



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  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

Other contributors

Lily Anderson - Senior Commercial Content Writer

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