Iggy leaves a costume party with his Mum, but something weird happens. He can’t take his costume off. Mum and Dad don’t believe him, and it looks like he might be stuck as the Boogie Monster forever. Iggy decides to investigate and wanders down a figurative rabbit hole. The other kids are stuck in their costumes too – but they don’t seem to realise it. What on earth is going on?
Toby Morris is an Auckland-based illustrator and writer, most familiar to me for his political cartoons for The Wireless.
The Day The Costumes Stuck is a whimsical picture book, with a non-traditional story arc. More like an independent art house movie than a Hollywood block-buster, the ending is open-ended and not at all what the reader might expect. This allows your own imagination to keep the story going on your own terms. The illustrations are wonderful, with a limited colour palette. The children are in colour, and everything around them is grey. The faces of the characters are really expressive, and convey beautifully the adult situation that each child has found themselves in.
I read this to my class of 5- and 6-year-olds, who had plenty to say about the book. There was debate over whether costumes could really get stuck, which transformed into a conversation about what they would do in Iggy’s situation, and what sort of costume would be fun or awful to be stuck in. Any book that promotes conversation amongst children is all right by me – recommended for up 8 year olds.
Reviewed by Rachel Moore
The Day The Costumes Stuck
by Toby Morris
Published by Beatnik Publishing