Friday, September 13, 2013

Best Word Book Ever (50th Anniversary Edition) by Richard Scarry (HarperCollins Children's Books)

Best Word Book Ever

Written and Illustrated by
Richard Scarry

Published by
HarperCollins Children's Books

We couldn't have a #ReadItMD13 theme week all about awesome animals without featuring at least one book by the grand master of fab animal characters himself. Richard Scarry's sublime "Best Word Book Ever" was one of the first 'new' books I was ever bought as a child. I distinctly remember this book being so well loved, read so many times, and (shhh) scribbled in that it literally melted away to nothing (I think if books could crumble to dust in your hands like some ancient Indiana Jones relic, this book would've done exactly that!)

Seeing the reprint with a new set of eyes sitting on my lap reading it with me was magical. All the reasons I loved it are all the reasons Charlotte loves it too. It's not just any old word book, it's a word book that sets out such beautifully detailed scenes. We see crazy things happening, we see ordinary everyday animal folk going about their business. We see them driving brilliant vehicles, doing fab jobs, brushing their teeth or preparing dinner for 12.

With each turn of the page you feel like you're learning a little more about Scarry himself, his creative processes, the values he held dear and the fact that his work has stood the test of time.

This new reprinted version features some of the last 'changes' made to the book, back in the 1980s Richard Scarry reworked some of the drawings - perhaps with the foreknowledge that political correctness would demand that his work would get a subtle tweak here and there. Oddly though some of the reworked drawings are quite jarringly bizarre looking, sticking out like a sore thumb. Take a peek inside this version and see if you can spot what I mean. There are bits where Scarry has reworked drawings or copied existing animals and poses to use for another character. It's very odd.

But even this doesn't detract from one heck of a fabulous book, and one that will thrill and engage your child just like most of Scarry's fabulous back catalogue do. A timely reprint of a book I've loved since childhood, and wonderfully well received by my child, couldn't be better.

Charlotte's best bit: Doctor Lion who has always trod a fine line between being awesome and scary for Charlotte.

Daddy's Favourite bit: So nice to see this book again, like greeting an old friend. Wonderful anniversary edition, even in spite of those bizarre reworked drawings

(Kindly sent to us for review by HarperCollins Children's Books)

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