A Scarry Podcast Experience; Richard, That Is

A Scarry Podcast Experience; Richard, That Is September 16, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast — the particular podcast in question shall remain nameless in an effort to protect the innocent but *cough, cough* PCHH — and one of the show’s contributors brought up Richard Scarry. And then had to explain who he was to her audience, because they (apparently) had no idea. Suddenly and without warning, I allowed myself to assume the form of Walt Kowalski.

OK, that’s a trifle harsh. And probably not the  best way to win Scarry any new disciples. Now that I’ve been made aware that there are actually folks in the world who have not heard of the man, and because I cannot bear to live in that particular world any longer than necessary, here’s my endorsement: Richard Scarry is awesome.

Especially if you’ve got kids.

He might be awesome even without that qualifier. I know that I’ve always loved his soft, brightly-colored, and charmingly simple drawings, but I’ve always tended to the childish, as well. …though I tell myself I tend to the “childlike,” because it feels a lot less self-recriminatory.

But I digress. Back on point, with a slight modification, for clarity: Richard Scarry’s books are awesome. ‘specially if you’ve got (or have been) kids.

Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it’s the fun I want to get across.


Lowly Worm is probably his most famous (and most undead) character , and “Busy Town” his most famous creation. But when I was little, I had an action figure of Sergeant Murphy that went almost everywhere with me. Stuffed into the top of a yellow Fisher Price motorcycle, he was to me what super-hero action figures were to many others of my age. Not sure if that particularly activity had much of an educational value, really, but it was most definitely fun. A ton of it.

ScarryI pretty much wore out our Giant Golden Book version of “Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever,” and can remember it to this day, chapter-and-verse. And I didn’t just “pretty much” wear out “Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks from A to Z;” I actually wore it out. The cover fell completely off. And it most definitely impacted my reading ability, so we know who to blame for that, now, right? (In fairness, I’m pretty sure my brothers and sisters contributed to its eventual demise. But I prefer to think of myself as the primary culprit.)

Don’t worry, though. There are lots of still-unread-to-death Scarrys out there. Just stick to the books, I say. (The 90’s show never captured my attention. Probably because the books had already captured it so completely.)

Wherever I go, I’m watching. 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. Someday it will all show up in a book.


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