Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Happy Birthday to Richard Scarry, a BUSY Man!

Richard Scarry (June 5, 1919 - April 30, 1994) was born in Boston (his inspiration for Busy Town?), Massachusetts. He wrote and/or illustrated over 300 books, which have been translated into 30 languages, selling over 300 million copies worldwide! 

Scarry once said,
“I’m not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten. I am very happy when people write that they have worn out my books, or that they are held together by Scotch tape. I consider that the ultimate compliment.”

Well, I have to say, my childhood copy of the big book BUSY, BUSY WORLD is all taped up along the binding! I remember fondly the double-decker bus on the cover, with the Eiffel Tower in the background. I've always been interested in travel and cultures, probably be because of that book, with its fun illustrations depicting countries and life all over the world...all inhabited by anthropomorphic animals!!

I honestly can't think of an author/illustrator who has created a bigger (or more fun) world of animal characters for young children than Richard Scarry.  He considered himself a fun-man disguised as an educator. 
"Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it's the fun I want to get across."

He got his start illustrating and writing lots of "Little Golden Books" in the 1950's.  Go here to see them all!  
But his big break came in 1963, when he wrote Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, in large-format.
His stories are easy to follow because of all the detailed pictures and matter-of-fact text -- even though the action taking place can be quite complex.

I remember pages full of funny scenarios: 
A city street with a gorilla driving a banana truck -
while swerving out of the way of an exploding fire hydrant - 
that has just been hit by "Lowly Worm" (in his little apple car) - 
with "Mr. Fixit Fox" showing up to tow him away - 
while "Sargent Murphy" (a dog) is directing traffic...

And that's only maybe half of what was going on in a two page spread!

Because of the fun animal characters that show up over and over again in the stories, as well as all that's happening on each page, kids want to look at and have these books read to them over and over again, in case they miss something the first (or second, or third) time!

What's your favorite Richard Scarry book?


  1. I love Richard Scarry's I Am a Bunny. So sweet.

    1. I agree, his illustrations in that book are SO sweet! It was my oldest son's favorite book for a long time - and now it's my grandson's favorite! He gets so excited when we get to the page with all the fall leaves, "falling from the trees". :)

  2. I'm not sure I could pick a favorite Richard Scarry book! I love so many of them. Truly one of my favorite authors.

    1. I'm with you - especially after I realized all that he'd done with Golden Books! People who grew up with his large format books (like "The Best Word Book Ever" and "What Do People Do All Day") tell me that their copies - like mine - were barely held together by tape because they were read so many times.