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.

Photo of the 2 foot tall Richard Scarry book next to a small board book for scaleAlthough 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

Thumbnail view of two pages from the book
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3 Responses to “Book Review: Richard Scarry’s Biggest Word Book Ever!”

  1. adam says:

    Hi AJ.
    One of the great things I like best about Richard Scarry’s books is their ability to continue to intrigue and entertain kids from each successive generation. On that note I thought you might get a kick out of this Flickr set ( I know it’s not the same book that you reviewed, but it is entertaining none the less.

    January 12th, 2006 at 5:33 am

  2. Suzanne says:

    Richard Scarry has the *best* kids books ever! My grandmother was a librarian and I have a huge collection of books at my mother’s house. And for every birthday and holiday, she packs up some age-appropriate books and mails them out to my kid. The last batch included his “Great Big Mystery Book,” which is one of my favorities from when I was a kid, which I had totally forgotten about. So I give all of his books a huge thumbs up!

    January 13th, 2006 at 8:44 pm

  3. Joe says:

    Did you really need to include the sarcastic comment about his son’s name?
    Go Huck Yourself.

    January 20th, 2009 at 12:41 pm