“This must be Thursday,’ said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. ‘I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”*

by chuckofish

I am a bit confused about what day it is. After a week away from the office, the amount of emails and phone messages and out-of-context requests is daunting. You know how it is.

Anyway, I was pleased to find out that today is the birthday of Richard McClure Scarry (June 5, 1919 – April 30, 1994), illustrator extraordinaire and children’s book author.pierre bear

I loved his books when I was growing up and collected them long after I was considered to be of an appropriate age to read them.

I am not alone in this. Scarry is arguably the most popular children’s book author of all time. In a career that spanned four decades, he wrote and illustrated more than three hundred books and it is estimated that he has sold more than 200 million copies in over twenty languages. Scarry is most famous for writing a series of books about Busytown, a fictional town populated with a variety of anthropomorphic animals. Some of the main characters include Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm, Bananas Gorilla, Hilda Hippo, and Farmer Fox.

The great thing about his books is that they can be read over and over and studied and enjoyed.

The boy reading about Busytown

The boy reading about Busytown

Well, his books have been very successful and to some of us they are timeless, but, of course, they had to be “updated” to make them more politically and gender correct.

According to Wikipedia, characters in “cowboy” or “indian” costumes were either removed or given nondescript clothing. Moral and religious elements were altered or removed, and wording like “he comes promptly when called to his breakfast” was changed to “he goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast”. And so on and so on.

Oh gee whiz.

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Dated maybe, but offensive? Discuss amongst yourselves.

*Douglas Adams. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy