8 books to inspire your World Book Day costumes

World Book Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than by diving into the magical world of literature? We've rounded up eight enchanting books that not only make for fantastic reads but also offer delightful costume inspirations for both kids and adults. Let the literary adventure begin!

In this blog:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Plot: Follow the whimsical journey of Alice, a curious young girl who falls down a rabbit hole and enters a fantastical realm filled with peculiar creatures and nonsensical happenings.


Why read:  If you loved the Disney animation Alice in Wonderland, then you'll love this book as it was the original inspiration behind the film! It's a timeless classic that explores themes of identity, imagination, and the unpredictable nature of dreams in a delightful and whimsical narrative. It's the perfect children's book for those aged 7+ (although you can read it to younger children, too).


Costume ideas: There are lots of amazing characters to choose from in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! You could channel the eccentric Mad Hatter with his mismatched attire and gigantic hat, try your best impersonation of the mysterious Cheshire Cat with a wide grin and purple stripes, go villainous with a Queen of Hearts-inspired gown and crown, or sport Alice's iconic blue dress for some main-character energy.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Plot: Meet Matilda, an extraordinary young girl with exceptional intelligence and telekinetic powers, navigating the challenges of her less-than-perfect family.


Why read: Roald Dahl's Matilda is a heartwarming and empowering tale that celebrates the triumph of intelligence, courage, and the indomitable spirit of a young girl against adversity. This children's book is suitable for ages 9-12 or younger if read by an adult.


Costume ideas: Dress up as Matilda herself, complete with a stack of books and a red ribbon. You could also recreate the formidable headmistress Miss Trunchbull as your World Book Day costume, featuring a tight bun, black boots (and a unibrow if you want to garner a few laughs).

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Plot: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz tells the enchanting story of Dorothy, a young girl swept away to the magical land of Oz in a cyclone. Determined to return home to Kansas, Dorothy embarks on a journey along the Yellow Brick Road, accompanied by newfound friends, facing challenges and adventures along the way.


Why read: This children's book is a timeless tale that emphasises the importance of courage, friendship, and self-belief. The book weaves a captivating narrative with vibrant characters, whimsical settings, and valuable life lessons, making it a beloved tale for those of all ages. However, for those looking to read the book independently, it's mostly suited to ages 9 and above.


Costume ideas: Become the Scarecrow, Tin Man, or the Cowardly Lion for a magical group costume, or go solo as Dorothy herself with a blue gingham dress, braided hair, and a pair of ruby slippers. If you're looking for an even more eye-catching World Book Day costume, you could don some green paint and go as the Wicked Witch!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Plot: Follow the impoverished but good-hearted Charlie Bucket as his life takes an unexpected turn when he wins a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory. Alongside four other lucky children, Charlie experiences the wonders and perils of the chocolate factory.


Why read: A delectable journey celebrating the joy of imagination and the consequences of greed, Roald Dahl's novel explores themes of morality, family, and the joy of indulging in the sweeter things in life. This book is best for children aged 7-10, although everyone can enjoy the story!


Costume ideas: If you're looking for fun World Book Day ideas, you can't go wrong with a Willy Wonka costume! Transform into Willy Wonka with a purple velvet coat and orange top hat or dress as one of the quirky Golden Ticket winners like Violet Beauregarde or Augustus Gloop.

Gangsta Granny by David Walliams 

Plot: A young boy named Ben discovers his granny's thrilling secret… she's an international jewel thief! Together, they embark on a series of heists, navigating the challenges of both their unusual partnership and the world of high-stakes crime.


Why read: A heartwarming and hilarious tale, David Walliams crafts a delightful narrative that explores the magic of intergenerational connections and the idea that adventure can be found in the most unlikely places. Perfect for those aged 7-10, Gangsta Granny is a great children's book to inspire your World Book Day costumes!


Costume ideas: Embrace Granny's rebellious spirit or go undercover as a jewelry heist accomplice. A gray wig, a floral dress, and a swag bag are essential for transforming into the mischievous but loveable granny who's always up for an unexpected adventure.

The Winnie the Pooh series by A.A. Milne 

Plot: Join Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood for heartwarming and silly escapades. From searching for honey to playing whimsical games, the characters navigate the ups and downs of life in the forest.


Why read: A.A. Milne's classic tale is filled with timeless lessons about friendship, kindness, and the joy of embracing the simple pleasures in life. The book's gentle humor and heartfelt moments make it a beloved read for both children and adults. This tale is suitable for children aged 4-6.


Costume ideas: Choose from the many endearing inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Woods for your next World Book Day costume, such as Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, or Eeyore. If you're looking for a group costume, why not team up and all pick a character to bring the Hundred Acre Woods alive?

The Sherlock Holmes series by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Plot: Follow the brilliant detective Sherlock Holmes and his loyal friend Dr John Watson as they tackle a multitude of intriguing cases in Victorian London.


Why read: The Sherlock Holmes series is a captivating exploration of crime-solving, featuring unforgettable characters and masterful storytelling that has made it a cornerstone of detective fiction. This series is a fantastic children's book for those aged 7+ and it goes down well with adults too!


Costume ideas: Unleash your inner detective with a Sherlock Holmes costume. A deerstalker hat, a pipe, and a magnifying glass will have you channeling the brilliant and sharp-witted detective from Victorian London.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Plot: Hop into The Tale of Peter Rabbit, a mischievous young rabbit who ignores his mother's warnings and ventures into Mr McGregor's garden to indulge in delicious vegetables. However, his escapade takes an unexpected turn, leading to a series of comical and suspenseful events.


Why read: The story is a timeless exploration of curiosity, consequences, and the importance of listening to one's parents, making it a beloved choice for young readers and a cherished classic in children's literature. It's advised for those aged 3-6.


Costume ideas: Dress up as the adorable Peter Rabbit himself with a blue denim jacket and carrot in hand, or one of his furry friends such as Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail.

Looking for children's books to get your little one more involved in reading? Explore our range of second hand children's books and save on your next collection of reads. Plus, why not treat yourself too? We have plenty of second hand books from different authors and genres to choose from!