Happy Birthday, Richard Scarry

June 5, 2012 children's books 0

If you have young children, chances are you have at least one book by Richard Scarry in your house.  Why not celebrate his birthday today (June 5) by sitting down to read it together?

Richard Scarry was born in 1919 and died in 1994.  He wrote and illustrated over 250 books, which have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.  His most popular books were set in the fictional Busytown, and are illustrated with an attention to whimsical detail which young children (and sometimes adults) find fascinating.  The inhabitants of Busytown are an anthropomorphic assortment of wild and domesticated animals, from pigs and dogs to gorillas and hippos — even the ever-popular Lowly Worm.

Scarry started illustrating in1947, and eventually began writing his own books.  Many of his books were published by Golden Books, including Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.  A number of videos and even a television series were based upon his works.

I have fond memories of reading some of Richard Scarry’ books with our daughter.  One of her favorites was an electronic book — not an ebook, but a book with buttons along one side that played sounds to go with the text.  You pressed the right button when the text told you to, and you would hear Bananas the gorilla saying “Buh-NAA-nas, buh-NAA-nas,” the roar of the motorcycle, the fire engine siren, and other fun sounds. Oddly enough, I’ve completely forgotten the title, but we still occasionally say “Buh-NAA-nas, buh-NAA-nas” at our house… and my daughter is about to start college. 

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Sources:
Wikipedia, Richard Scarry
New York Times, Obituaries, “Richard Scarry, 74, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator, Dies”

Images from various book websites, including Amazon and Goodreads

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