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Meet the WritersImage of Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry
Biography
"I'm not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten," Richard Scarry once said. "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." Considering the propensity of Scarry's preschool-age readership to ask for their favorite books again and again, it's a compliment he must have received often during his tenure as one of the most popular children's authors of all time.

Scarry began his career as a freelance illustrator, drawing pictures to accompany the text of books by children’s authors such as Margaret Wise Brown, Kathryn Jackson, and Patricia Murphy (who became Patricia Scarry when she married Richard in 1949). His first two efforts at writing his own books, The Great Big Car and Truck Book (1951) and Rabbit and His Friends (1953), already suggest some of his interests as an author: travel, technology, and talking animals.

But it was the 1963 publication of Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever that put Scarry on bestseller lists, and established his signature style. Its densely packed pages are populated by anthropomorphic animals at work and play, in drawings that reward multiple readings with details children (and parents) may not notice at first glance. The large-format book contains over 1400 illustrated and labeled objects, along with simple introductions to concepts like sharing and helping.

In Busy, Busy World (1965), Scarry's animals star in a series of international adventures in such far-flung locales as Paris, Rome, and Algeria. Well before multiculturalism was an educational buzzword, Scarry believed he could use animals to help children imaginatively enter others' experiences. In a Publishers Weekly interview, he explained that "children can identify more closely with pictures of animals than they can with pictures of another child. They see an illustration of a blond girl or a dark-haired boy, who they know is somebody other than themselves, and competition creeps in. With imagination -- and children all have marvelous imagination -- they can easily identify with an anteater who is a painter or a goat who is an Indian."

Though Scarry soon abandoned exotic settings in favor of the fictional Busytown, he continued to illustrate different roles in society with cherubic critters like Postman Pig, Huckle Cat, Sergeant Murphy, and Lowly Worm. Once he had developed a cast of characters, he introduced them into everything from picture dictionaries and activity books to mystery stories and manners lessons.

Scarry's books, which have sold over 100 million copies and been translated into 30 languages, always reflected his own curiosity about the world. "Wherever I go, I'm watching," he liked to say. "Even on vacation, when I'm in an airport or a railroad station, I look around, snap pictures, and find out how people do things." In relating his discoveries to children, he expanded not only their vocabularies, but their understanding of the "busy world" as a social community in which people work, play, cooperate and share.   (Gloria Mitchell)

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Good to Know
From 1941 through 1946, Scarry served in the U.S. Army. The army, he joked, "thought I would make a good radio repairman. My exam mark was minus 13, so they decided to make me a corporal." Scarry wound up as an art director for the Morale Services Section, and eventually rose to the rank of captain.

Richard Scarry's son Huck Scarry is also a writer and illustrator of children's books, including some new additions to the Busytown series. His nickname matches that of the title character in one of his father's favorite books, Huckleberry Finn.

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About the Writer
*Richard Scarry Home
* Biography
* Good to Know
In Our Other Stores
*Richard Scarry Movies
Chronology
*Great Big Car and Truck Book, 1951
*Rabbit and His Friends, 1953
*Richard Scarry's Naughty Bunny, 1959
*Tinker and Tanker Out West, 1961
*Tinker and Tanker Build a Space Ship, 1961
*Tinker and Tanker and the Pirates, 1961
*Tinker and Tanker, Knights of the Round Table, 1963
*Tinker and Tanker in Africa, 1963
*Richard Scarry's What Animals Do, 1963
*Best Word Book Ever, 1963
*The Polite Elephant, 1964
*Is This the House of Mistress Mouse?, 1964
*Busy, Busy World, 1965
*The Bunny Book, 1965
*Richard Scarry's Storybook Dictionary, 1966
*Richard Scarry's Planes, 1967
*Richard Scarry's Trains, 1967
*Richard Scarry's Boats, 1967
*Richard Scarry's Cars, 1967
*Egg in the Hole Book, 1967
*Richard Scarry's The Early Bird, 1968
*Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day?, 1968
*Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, 1968
*Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse, 1969
*Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever, 1970
*Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever, 1970
*More Adventures of Tinker and Tanker, 1971
*Richard Scarry's ABC Word Book, 1971
*Richard Scarry's Great Big Air Book, 1971
*Richard Scarry's Best Stories Ever, 1971
*Fun with Words, 1971
*Going Places, 1971
*Richard Scarry's Things to Know, 1971
*Richard Scarry's Hop Aboard, Here We Go, 1972
*Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book, 1972
*Nicky Goes to the Doctor, 1972
*Richard Scarry's Funniest Storybook Ever, 1972
*Richard Scarry's Please and Thank You Book, 1973
*Richard Scarry's Babykins and His Family, 1973
*Richard Scarry's Silly Stories, 1973
*Richard Scarry's Find Your ABC's, 1973
*Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever, 1973
*Richard Scarry's Best Rainy Day Book Ever: More than 500 Things to Color and Make, 1974
*Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, 1974
*Richard Scarry's Animal Nursery Tales, 1975
*Richard Scarry's Great Steamboat Mystery, 1975
*All Day Long, 1976
*Early Words, 1976
*Richard Scarry's Busiest People Ever, 1976
*Storytime, 1976
*Richard Scarry's Best Picture Dictionary Ever, 1976
*Busy Town, Busy People, 1976
*Six Golden Look-Look Books, 1976
*Short and Tall, 1976
*Richard Scarry's About Animals, 1976
*On Vacation, 1976
*My House, 1976
*At Work, 1976
*Richard Scarry's Color Book, 1976
*Learn to Count, 1976
*All Year Long, 1976
*On the Farm, 1976
*In My Town, 1976
*Richard Scarry's Lowly Worm Storybook, 1977
*Scarry's Best Make-It Book Ever, 1977
*Richard Scarry's Little Counting Book, 1978
*Richard Scarry's Lowly Worm Sniffy Book, 1978
*Richard Scarry's Little ABC, 1978
*Mr. Fixit and Other Stories, 1978
*Little Bedtime Book, 1978
*Richard Scarry's Postman Pig and His Busy Neighbors, 1978
*Richard Scarry's Best First Book Ever, 1979
*Richard Scarry's Mix or Match Storybook, 1979
*Richard Scarry's Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon, 1980
*Richard Scarry's Best Christmas Book Ever, 1981
*Richard Scarry's Christmas Mice, 1981
*Richard Scarry's Lowly Worm Word Book, 1981
*Richard Scarry's Busy Houses, 1981
*Richard Scarry's Pig Will and Pig Won't: Knee-High Book, 1982
*Richard Scarry's Lowly Worm Bath Book, 1984
*The Best Mistake Ever! and Other Stories, 1984
*Richard Scarry's Busy Fun and Learn Book, 1984
*Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever, 1985
*Fun with Numbers, 1986
*Fun with Words, 1986
*Fun with Letters, 1986
*Fun with Reading, 1986
*Richard Scarry's Things to Love, 1986
*Richard Scarry's Getting Ready for School Workbook, 1987
*Richard Scarry's Busy Workers, 1987
*Richard Scarry's Getting Ready for School Workbook, 1987
*Richard Scarry's Things That Go, 1987
*Splish-Splash, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Best Times Ever: A Book About Seasons and Holidays, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Sniff the Detective, 1988
*Harry and Larry the Fishermen, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Farmer Patrick Pig, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Dr. Doctor, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Frances Fix-It, 1988
*Richard Scarry's Best Friend Ever, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Best Ever, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Bedtime Stories, 1989
*Richard Scarry's All About Cars, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Best Ride Ever, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Best Two-Minute Stories Ever!, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Mother Goose Scratch and Sniff Book, 1989
*Richard Scarry's Cars and Trucks: From A to Z, 1990
*Richard Scarry's Just Right Word Book, 1990
*Richard Scarry's Counting Book, 1990
*Best Read It Yourself Book Ever: A Collection of 12 Easy to Read Stories, 1990
*Richard Scarry's Be Careful, Mr. Frumble!, 1990
*Riichard Scarry's Watch Your Step, Mr Rabbit!, 1991
*Richard Scarry's The Cat Family's Busy Day, 1991
*Richard Scarry's Mr. Frumble's Worst Day Ever!, 1991
*Richard Scarry's The Cat Family Takes a Trip, 1991
*Richard Scarry's Best Year Ever, 1991
*ABCs, 1991
*Huckle Cat's Busiest Day Ever, 1992
*Mr. Frumble: Richard Scarry's Smallest Pop-Up Book, 1992
*Richard Scarry's Best Little Word Book Ever!, 1992
*Mr. Fix-It: Richard Scarry's Smallest Pop-Up Book, 1992
*Richard Scarry's Bananas Gorilla, 1992
*Sergeant Murphy's Busiest Day Ever: Richard Scarry, 1992
*Richard Scarry's Biggest Pop-Up Book Ever!, 1992
*Richard Scarry's Biggest Make-It Book Ever!, 1993
*Colors, 1993
*First Words: Richard Scarry, 1993
*Richard Scarry's The Three Little Pigs, 1993
*Richard Scarry's The Three Bears, 1993
*Richard Scarry's Little Red Riding Hood, 1993
*Pie Rats Ahoy!, 1994