I well remember World Book Day from when my children were at primary school. Choosing a book to read and the character to dress up, was serious business. Finding items to make the costume was my responsibility (and headache). If you are still seeking inspiration, here are a few children’s stories about mills and millers, mill cats and mice that we have in our Library…
Mouse trouble by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake (Puffin Books, 1972)
This is a delightful story about a bad-tempered miller plagued with hundreds of mice in his mill and a large tabby cat who wants to be friends… with the mice. Quentin Blake has drawn his fabulous and hilariously detailed illustrations.
Rosie and Jim and the man in the wind by John Cunliffe (Scholastic, 1992)
A gentle story explaining how a mill grinds wheat into flour, then how bread is made.
Mr Tulip grinds to a halt by Christopher Masters (Frederick Warne, 1978)
The story, with amusing illustrations, of Mr Tulip, the good miller, whose mill suddenly stops working, forcing the local people to have their grain ground by Mr Sprattle, a devious man who tricks them. However, the mice in Mr Tulip’s mill save the day…
Katje the windmill cat by Gretchen Woelfle (Walker Books, 2002)
This well illustrated book, tells the story of Katje, a mill cat, who saves a baby in a flood. It is based on the story of the Elizabeth’s Day Flood in 1421 when a cat and a baby survived flooding in South Holland. The stronger dike, built after the flood, is the well-known Kinderdijk (Children’s Dike).
Matthew and the miller by Violet Bradby (Blackie & Son, no date)
An enchanting, old-fashioned story, of Matthew, a boy who helps the elderly Miller, and a Wise Woman who lives with thirty cats.
Dusty’s windmill by Kitty Barne (J. M. Dent & Sons, 1949)
A mystery story in the Farrar Family series for older children. Set in Sussex after the Second World War, about the Farrar family, who help save a windmill for Dusty the Miller’s grandson.
Simple costume to dress up as a miller (or a cat or a mouse)
The image of a dusty miller is easily achieved – an old shirt or smock, jacket or overalls, trousers held up with braces or a piece of old string, boots, and a flat cap if you have one. Flour rubbed into the hair. Flour dust on the clothes might be messy but the same effect can be achieved with white emulsion sponged on, dried and brushed off (the emulsion will come out when the clothes are washed).
Younger children might like to dress up as a miller’s cat or mouse using face paints.
Here are some photographs of ‘dusty millers’: