Monday, October 08, 2012

{Guest Post} My Favourite Children's Author: Richard Scarry

Richard Scarry
Don't be frightened off by his name. This children's author is loved by children all over the world. Richard McClure Scarry (5 June 1919 - 30 April 1994) was a popular American children's author and illustrator with a career that spanned four decades. He published over 300 books which have been translated into 30 languages.

He is best known for his series of books about Busytown, where characters are often common animal species such as cats, rabbits and pigs. He is also talented at personifying the animals and giving them human-like characteristics.

I'm happy to introduce Vera, who is mum to 4-year old Noey and 1.5 year old Nomi. She is nearly a year into her Stay-At-Home-Mum gig and frequently wonders what she got herself into when she signed up for the job. On her blog, Life is in the Small Things, she blogs about, yes, the small things (make that 2 naughty little small things), but also the big moments that life is about. Vera loves planning theme parties, hunting down new recipes to try, and just making her kids laugh.


Richard Scarry is one of those writer-illustrators who just doesn't go out of style. 

I remember reading his books when I was a child, and also recall them being among my sister's favourites. I forgot about Richard Scarry and Huckle Cat and Busytown when I eventually outgrew these books. And then I had kids. 

When Noey was younger, one of the most important qualities which we looked for in books was that they had to be engaging enough to keep him seated so that he would eat his food. That boy was a tough one to feed! We found our answer in Richard Scarry's big books. Noey could spend ages pouring over them because there are just so many pictures and things to see on each page. 

Here are some of our favourite titles: 

Richard Scarry's Best First Book Ever!

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They weren't kidding when they called this the Best First Book. This is a great one for the little ones. There is a very simple and loose storyline following the Cat Family through the day, from the time they wake up, but what is really of interest here are the colourful pictures. Each two-page spread depicts a different setting -- a cut-away of the Cat Family's house showing each room, breakfast in the kitchen, a day at school, a shopping trip to the supermarket, etc. There are plenty of items on a page, which is useful for building vocabulary.

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We've had a lot of fun with this book. Some simple activities the kids enjoy:

1. I Spy! -- We take turns to name items and be the fastest to point them out on the page. 

2. Matching Pictures to Real Objects -- I dig out items from home and lay them out in the room, and I get the kids to pick out the real item to match the picture. 

3. Actions -- We use the page on action words and as I call out the actions, the kids will point out the correct picture and perform it themselves. 

 As you can tell, these are really simple activities and my point in sharing them is to show that not every learning/fun activity needs to involve forward planning and craft work! I'm not good at craft work and honestly Noey doesn't seem too big on it, so I'm happy not having to do too much of it! I might have to change tack with Nomi, but we'll see. 

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Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

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This book is Noey's favourite, and I think, with most boys! As the title suggests, it's full of interesting vehicles - real ones, and funny ones, like the crocodile car on the cover. The story follows the Pig Family as they make their way to the beach and back home again. Along the way, they encounter all sorts of vehicles, from fire engines to tractors to locomotives, to other fantastic vehicles. Ever wondered what a broom-o-cycle looks like? You'll find one in this book. What I love best about this book is that there's just so much to see and talk about on each page. You can spot Mistress Mouse in her pink tow truck helping various hapless drivers who have vehicle trouble, and see Officer Flossy try to catch Dingo Dog for speeding. 

Another thing that Noey LOVED to do was hunt for Goldbug. He's hiding somewhere in each two page spread -- you just have to find him! We've spent many giggly moments trying to spot him and its an activity that both Noey and I enjoyed together. Can you spot him in the spread below?
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(Answer: He's hiding in the ambulance!)

The Adventures of Lowly Worm

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As compared to the other two, this is more of a regular book. It’s a collection of short stories with Lowly Worm playing a big part. In this book, you will follow Lowly Worm as he takes an unexpected ride up into the sky on a balloon, go with the Cat Family on a visit to the city, and wind-up at the hospital after an accident leaves him with a hurt foot. And end with a birthday surprise too! Altogether a fun read.

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Lots of things to do and see,
It's so much fun to be
A part of Busytown.

I think this line from the theme song of the cartoon series "The Busy World of Richard Scarry" says it best! There's lots of fun to be had with these books. Books like these do a childhood make.

1 comment:

  1. oh thank you for introducing R.S! i will be sure to check him out at my next library trip!


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