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Sunday, June 5, 2011


Happy Birthday, Richard Scarry!

As a child I used to love to read his Busy Town books. I just loved the characters and the way he wrote. I still admire his style and along with the children books I still check out, he's included in the pile. I would love to write children books along with the travel narratives, historical fiction, poetry and other fictions for adults and teens; and I love the humor he has that shows me I shouldn't be afraid to use my humor for children (also to teach them too).

"Kokogiak has a Flickr gallery with scans from two different editions of Richard Scarry's The Best Word Book Ever. The 1963 edition has references to Native Americans, a "pretty stewardess," "brave hero," and old-fashioned gender roles that were changed in the 1991 edition.
I can understand the reasons for many of the changes, but some of the alterations are for the worse, if you ask me. Much of Scarry's absurdist humor, which gives his work appeals to adults as well as kids, has ben expunged from the more recent edition. For instance, on the page about fire fighters saving people from a burning building, a cat jumping from the window was labeled "jumping gentleman." In the 1991 edition, the label is removed. And the "beautiful screaming lady" was changed to "cat in danger." That's no fun. The example shown above is even more unfortunate. The earlier version says the bear cub "comes promptly when he is called to breakfast." My four-year-old daughter enjoyed this and it really did inspire her come to the dinner table when we called her. The new version says "He goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast." What is that supposed to teach a kid? " From BoingBoing

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