Tuesday, 28 September 2010

In praise of the late Richard Scarry

 When I was a kid, I remember being given a huge book one christmas morning that was filled with all sorts of crazy animal characters going about the normal everyday things that us humans get up to. There are a ton of anthropomorphised animal character books out there, but for me, no one's really come close to holding a torch to Richard Scarry. Sadly he passed away in 1994 but spent a long career both in commercial illustration and advertising before finding his niche in children's books. 

The infamous "Busy Town" books are just that (A Day at the Airport is pictured above) and are part of Scarry's trademark of mixing superbly illustrated animal characters with super-detailed scenes. Like any fantastic painting or illustration, there's always some tiny detail or new thing to discover in any of Scarry's work. 

Carrying on his father's legacy, new "Richard Scarry" books are still being published, often drawn and written by Scarry's son (also named Richard but also sometimes published under his nickname "Huck"). Taking on his father's illustration style, Huck's books are just as busy and detailed and there are also some superb collections of classic Scarry stuff still in print. 

If you spot any of these at car boot sales, or in your local library, snap them up. They're superb fun and if you remember how excellent they were when you were a kid, you can bet your own kids will love them too.