March 10, 2015

Does Frozen count as a book?


The new lineup of favorite literary characters, apparently. © Joe Seer / via Shutterstock

The new lineup of kids’ favorite literary characters, apparently.
© Joe Seer / via Shutterstock

Last week, the UK and Ireland celebrated World Book Day, an occasion that children were encouraged to celebrate by dressing as their favorite book characters. But, as Kat Brown reports for the Telegraph, many kids’ selections have caused some controversy for not being literary enough, specifically the hordes of little girls who decided to dress up as Elsa and Anna from Disney’s ubiquitous hit movie Frozen.

Brown writes that “many children appear to have begged their parents to go dressed as their favourite character full-stop, resulting in a plethora of film characters alongside the Where’s Wally and Harry Potter contingents.” Sidebar: did everybody know that Where’s Waldo is known as Where’s Wally in the UK? And that the author/illustrator, Martin Handford, is from England, meaning that we Americans can’t even make fun of our British friends for getting it wrong? (It still sounds wrong.)

Brown has compiled a series of tweets from parents and other interested parties, with reactions running the gamut from indignant to defensive to totally resigned—a succinct summation of the parenting experience, as I understand it. Some people defend Frozen as being inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen,” but that’s not stopping snarky responses like these:


Others are quick to point out the movie has been turned into a slew of books by Disney, and Brown characterizes the third camp of responses as: “Seriously, who cares. Have you tried to wrangle a small child of iron will into a costume lately?” A fair point, to be sure, and I’d also posit that the appeal of being able to reuse a Halloween costume can’t be overstated.

In addition to the Frozen costumes, Brown points out a Darth Vader, two Jeremy Clarksons (celebrating “the Top Gear book”), and most horrifyingly of all, a Christian Grey. Despite being closer to the spirit of the World Book Day theme, that last one is a thousand times more upsetting. If the choice is between a parade of children singing “Let It Go” at the top of their lungs while passing off sticker books as literature, and a world where a tween chooses Christian Grey as his favorite character from a book, the former sounds vastly preferable.

(ed. note: All of this outrage should’ve been directed at the people who dressed up as Jeremy Clarkson, who is a buffoon.)

Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.