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Richard Scarry. Author/ illustrator Study Rachel lavey RE 3240 NOra vines. Biography Timeline. -------- -------- ---------- ----------- ------- ____ ----------- ---------- ---------- ____. Born June 5, 1919 in Boston, MA to John James and Barbara Scarry

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Richard scarry

Richard Scarry

Author/ illustrator Study

Rachel lavey

RE 3240 NOravines

Biography timeline
Biography Timeline

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  • Born June 5, 1919 in Boston, MA to John James and Barbara Scarry

  • 1938-1941: After graduation, Scarry in encouraged to apply for business school, and studies for less than a year. After dropping out, Scarry receives acceptance into the Boston School of Fine Arts

  • 1941-1946: Scarry joins the Army, eventually completing Officer Candidate school and applying for art director in North Africa and Italy, drawing maps and designing graphics

  • 1946: Finds work in New York with Golden Press as a commercial artist after providing illustration of the children’s book The Boss of the Barnyard

  • Marries Patricia Murphy, another children’s book author, on September 14, 1949

  • Scarry continues to illustrate for other children’s authors for several years until he begins to write and illustrate his own books

  • 1963: Scarry first break out success is published, Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever

  • 1969: Scarry, wife, and son Huck move to Gstaad, Switzerlandd21

  • March 14, 1994: an animated children’s series based off of the world and books created by Scarry premieres, The Busy World of Richard Scarry

  • Dies April 30, 1994 Gstaad, Sweden

Richard scarry

Scarry, cir. 1990

Scarry and wife Patsy, 1951

General genre concepts themes or subjects
General Genre, concepts, themes, or Subjects

  • Teaching Books

  • Books are usually written around a subject: Holidays, Words, Numbers/Counting

    • Scarry usually uses his books to teach children about a subject. The books range from pictures of words with their definitions, visual demonstrations of numbers, or a tour through the town with quick sentences describing their jobs.

    • Scarry’s books have even been utliized as readers to help teach reading in younger grades.

    • Scarry: “I would say [I am a] fun-man disguised as an educator…Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it’s the fun I want to get across.”

  • Story Books, Mystery Books, and More

    • Scarry tried his hand at almost every other type of book. Scarry also wrote his own story books, or rewrote classic stories in his own style. When puzzle or “rainy day books” rose in popularity, Scarry also published some of his own works in that genre. He wrote a good amount of mystery books, and eventually created touch and feel books, scent books, and other interactive books.

  • Richard scarry


    • Violence

      Many have questioned the use of “violent images” in Scarry’s work: flaming buildings, car accidents and exploding cakes may commonly appear among the illustrations

      • Considerations:

        • Plays into use of animals: rather than a human mom with an exploding cake, a cat mom makes the situation more farcical rather than dangerous.

  • Scarry: “…it’s not true violence, it’s fun…The only thing that really suffers is dignity.”

  • Gender / Racial Stereotypes

    Some have criticized Scarry’s work for gender bias. Women characters perform tasks at home, while workers such as mechanics, fire fighters and truck drivers tend to be male.

    • Considerations:

      • Writing Period 1940s-1970s

      • Possibility of bias, actual social patterns

        More recent releases of Scarry’s work may include edits of character clothing or gender: a girl doing a more masculine job, women with clothing other than dresses or skirts

  • Scarry did not see his books in this fashion

  • Scarry: “Children can identify more closely with pictures of animals than they can with pictures of another child.”

  • What makes his work distinctive
    What makes his work distinctive

    • Richard Scarry’s work is considered classic, loved by past and present generations. The word busy occurs in many of his titles and is a great way to describe his work. The pages of Scarry’s books have colorful, full illustrations that interact. Scarry creates recurring characters that the audience begins to follow and look for with in the book and it’s pages. The drawings are also very interactive: ifan apple cart spills over on one page, you’ll likely seeapples spill into the rest of the scene.

    • Scarry also uses animals exclusively as his characters. Scarry uses a wide range of animals as well, from cats and dogs, to sharks and hippos. His animals, however, rarely show their animal qualities. They dress, behave and speak like people. When they do, its usually to provide circumstantial humor, not to make them seem more animalistic. Rather than writing stories about animals, he drew stories about people with animals acting them out.

    Writing and artistic style
    Writing and Artistic style

    • Simple, Bold Text

      • Scarry Preferred to let pictures tell the story and often wrote in text after all the illustrations were created. Text still added to the story, describing the situations, providing definitions or making a humorous comment on the scene nearby.

  • Busy, Colorful and Simple Drawings

    • Move from painting in full color to the use of “blueboarding”

      • Illustrations first done in black line (ink or pencil); photographed, film postivies are transferred to an illustration board; painted over by color; printed with black lines reprinted on top

      • “Scarry Red”

  • Personification of Animals

  • Use of Comedy

    • Situational comedy

    • Comments on ideas or events portrayed

  • Awards and recognitions
    Awards and Recognitions

    • Edgar Allen Poe Special Award from the Mystery Writers of America (The Great Steamboat Mystery), 1976


    On March 14, 1994, an animated series based on Richard Scarry’s world premiered. The Busy World of Richard Scarry would continue for 3 more years, delighting children and bringing life to Scarry’s unique illustrations and stories.

    Huck Scarry, Richard Scarry’s son, would also go into children’s illustration. He

    Lesson idea richard scarry s busy busy town
    Lesson idea: Richard scarry’s busy, busy town

    • Summary: Richard Scarry’sBusytown is busy indeed! Scarry takes us on a trip through bustling busy town and educates us on all the different kinds of jobs there are in a town. Lumberjacks and pilots, teachers and students, adults and kids in the home: every group is shown actively working to make their homes, schools and towns run.

    Teaching Idea: First Grade

    Social studies in first grade has a strong emphasis on family and community. Some competency goals from the NC Standard Course of Study include applying economic concepts to school and the community, how different cultures work to earn money, understanding the roles of individuals in the community, and the roles of leaders. Students could use the book to identify various jobs people may work in order to earn money. They can use the section on home to identify jobs at home and what role they play in their own home. Using the school section, students can look at and relate to different jobs in school. Perhaps they could create jobs for the classroom and run them, or could list ways of helping at home and try to do them for one week. They could ask their parents what they do for a living and do a report describing their job. You could possibly even run a mini-job fair or have parents come in and talk about their jobs to the students.

    Notable books
    Notable Books


    Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

    Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever

    Richard Scarry’s Best Counting Book Ever

    Please and Thank You Book

    What Do People Do All Day?

    The Best Mistake Ever! And other stories

    Richard Scarry’s Best Mother Goose Ever

    Find Your ABC’s

    Richard Scarry’s Great Big Schoolhouse

    Richard Scarry’s Best Storybook Ever

    • Series

    • “Richard Scarry’s”

    • “Best Book Ever”

    • “Busytown”

    • Richard Scarry’s Best Holiday Books Ever

    • Step-into-Reading

    Other Notable Books

    Busy, Busy Town

    The Great Steamboat Mystery

    Best Storybook Ever

    What Do People Do All Day?

    Best Rainy Day Book Ever

    Best First Book Ever


    • Biography

    • Retan, Walter and Risom, Ole. The Busy, Busy World of Richard Scarry. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997. Print.

    • Websites

    • “Richard Scarry Fundamentals.” February 3, 2002. Web. March 18, 2012.

    • Pace, Jonathan. “Returning to Busytown: Remembering Richard Scarry.” The Huffington Post. December 20, 2010. Web. March 18, 2012


    • “The Very Busy World of Richard Scarry.” 2012. Web. March 18, 2012


    • “Meet The Writers: Richard Scarry.” Barnes and Noble. 2012. Web. March 18, 2012.



    • “Scarry, Richard.” World Cat Identities. 2010. Web. March 18, 2012.