Wednesday, January 11th, 2006
Book Review: Richard Scarry’s Biggest Word Book Ever!
Background: Richard Scarry is a children’s author legend. He has illustrated more than 300 children’s books, selling 300+ million books worldwide. If you grew up with a Scarry book, you understand why.
Animals dress and go about life like humans. The drawings are simple, his choice of species limited. Dogs. Cats. Pigs. Rabbits. Foxes. Mice. Worms. They are always doing something of interest: a gorilla driving his banana car; or perhaps a painter pig dropping his paint can on someone below in Scarry’s signature slapstick fashion.
Although Scarry died in 1994, his son Huck Scarry continues the tradition today, writing and illustrating in his father’s style. Wow, Huck. If I had a son, Huck would be at the top of my list.
The Book: Richard Scarry’s Biggest Word Book Ever! has three levels of cool.
#1 Two feet tall. A 3-year-old visited us yesterday and her eyes popped out. It was quite messy.
#2 No plot. Like the best Scarry books, it is packed with scenes, a million little things to look at. The pages fall loosely into these activity themes: around town, inside homes, farms and harvesting nature, construction machines and building structures, sailing vessels and flying machines.
It is a word book in that each object is identified by name. The content is intended for ages 3 to 8, but Little Miss loves it at 19 months. She cannot read, but she points to the drawings and wants us to identify each object.
#3 Board book. There are 12 huge, sturdy illustrated pages. We set the book on the floor, lie down, and prop our elbows on the pages. This book will no doubt see great wear in the coming years, which should fulfill a wish widely attributed to its author.
“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 have worn out my books, or that they’re held together by Scotch tape.” –Richard Scarry