If the name “Lowly Worm” means anything to you, you’ll leap at the mention of children’s book illustrator Richard Scarry. A Boston-born artist who moved to Switzerland in his middle age, Scarry spent eight hours a day at his desk cranking out classics like Richard Scarry’s Please & Thank You and Richard Scarry’s Find Your ABC’s, both of which were canny combinations of storytelling and lesson-learning. If you’re a young adult of a certain age, it is possible that Scarry is responsible for the greater part of your vocabulary.
“It’s a precious thing to be communicating to children, helping them discover the gift of language and thought,” Scarry said of his work. “I’m happy to be doing it.”
Very happy indeed, if his more than 300 published books are any indication. Like all the best children’s book illustrators, Richard Scarry was particularly adept at stuffing his drawings with tantalizing details that stuck in the minds of young kids. His pièce de résistance was 1963’s Best Word Book Ever, which included illustrations of more than 1,400 objects.
Herewith, an Introduction to the Busy World of Richard Scarry: