Richard Scarry was born on June 5, 1919, in Boston. As a kid, he loved art (he took painting classes at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston) and hated school (he took five years to graduate high school).

He served in the army in World War II as an art director, editor, and writer for the Morale Services Section of Allied Forces HQ. After the war, he moved to New York to pursue a career as an artist. In 1949 he met actress-slash-author Patricia Murphy at a party. Within two weeks they were MARRIED. They had a son and called him Huck.

In 1955, Scarry illustrated Jane Werner's book, Smokey the Bear. This story would become the national fire safety icon we all know and love. Smokey looks the way he does today because of how Richard Scarry drew him fifty years ago.

Scarry illustrated a lot of stuff through the 50s, but it was all other people's work until 1963, when The Best Word Book Ever was published. It was written and illustrated by him, and was an immediate success. He went on to create about three hundred more books for kids, I'm not sure you heard me, THREE HUNDRED.

Scarry didn't use a lot of text in his books - most of the words are used as labels on pages packed full of detailed pictures. He used animals as protagonists to avoid racial and gender stereotyping. He's gotten some bad press about gender bias, though - people get upset that, in his illustrations, the women always wear dresses. However,   a. they're animals. The only reason you think it's a girl animal is that she's wearing a dress;   b. big fucking deal. Same people who try to sue over the bathroom door symbol having a skirt on.

In 1976, he was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Special Award from the Mystery Writers of America for his book The Great Steamboat Mystery.

He lived with his family in New York and Connecticut for almost twenty years before moving to Europe. Scarry had a home and studio in Switzerland, and a house in France. He enjoyed skiing, hiking, traveling, and boating. He died of a heart attack in Gstaad, Switzerland on April 30, 1994.

The recurring policeman in his illustrations does not carry a gun.


"The greatest compliment I can receive is to be told that some of my books are held together with more Scotch tape than there is paper in the original book."


(note: most of these, properly titled, have "Richard Scarry's" appended to the front of them, as in, "Richard Scarry's Best little Word Book."

ABCs / The Adventures of Lowly Worm / All Around Busytown / Animal Nursery Tales / Balloons and Other Fun Things: Gravity, Seeds and How They Grow, Balloons, in the Pool / Bananas Gorilla's Sounds / Be Careful, Mr. Frumble! / Be My Valentine! / Bedtime Stories / The Best Baby-Sitter Ever / The Best Balloon Ride Ever / The Best Christmas Present Ever! / Best First Book Ever / Best Halloween Masquerade Ever / Best History of the World Ever! / The Best Little Word Book Ever! / The Best Mistake Ever! / Best Mother Goose Ever / Best Mysteries Ever! / Best Picture Dictionary Ever / Best Read-It-Yourself Book Ever / Best Storybook Ever / Best Trace 'n' Rub Book Ever / Best Word Book Ever / The Big Operation / Biggest and Best Storybook Ever / Biggest Make-It Book Ever / Biggest Word Book Ever / Biggest Workbook Ever / Billy Dog's Bad Day / The Bunny Book / Busiest Busytown Ever! / Busiest Firefighters Ever / Busiest People Ever / Busy, Busy Town / The Busy, Busy World of Richard Scarry / Busy Day Storybook Treasury / Busytown / Busytown Boat Race / Busytown Race Day

Camping Out / Cars and Trucks and Things That Go / Cars and Trucks from A to Z / The Cat Family Car / Christmas Mice / Color Book / Cucumber to the Rescue!: Cucumber in MacHu Picchu, Flying Noodles / A Day at the Airport / Dingo, the Worst Driver Ever / Dinosaurs and Other Fun Things: Reycycling, Dinosaurs, Mines, Icebergs / The Early Bird / Early Words / Egg in the Hole

Favorite Christmas Carols / Find Your ABCs / First Little Learners Treasury: From 1 to 10 / First Words / Fun With Letters: Preschool / Fun With Numbers: Preschool / Fun With Numbers: Kindergarten / Fun With Reading: Grade One / Fun With Words: Kindergarten / Funniest Storybook / Getting Ready for School Workbook / Getting Ready for Writing / The Gingerbread Man / Grand Hotel

Helicopters and Other Fun Things: Volcanoes, Inside Your Body, the Olympics, Helicopters / Hilda Hippo's Favorite Stories / Hilda's Tea Party / How Things Work in Busytown / Huckle Cat's Colors / Iciest Day Ever / Is There a Monster in the House? / Just Right Word Book! / Little ABC / Little Counting Book / Little Treasury of Things That Go / Lowly Worm Joins the Circus / Lowly Worm Storybook / Lowly Worm Word Book / Lowly Worm's Shapes and Sizes

The Missing Bananas / Mother Goose Rhymes and Nursery Tales / Mouse's House / Mr. Fixit's Magnet Machine / Mr. Fixit's Mix-Ups / Mr. Fixit's Opposites / Mr. Frumble's ABC / Mr. Frumble's Bedtime Stories / Mr. Frumble's Fire Engine / Mr. Frumble's New Cars / Mr. Frumble's Pickle Car / Mr. Gronkle's Christmas Book / Mr. Paint Pig's ABC's / The Night Before the Night Before Christmas / Oceans and Other Fun Things: Oceans, Where Paper Comes From, Hiking, the Time of Day / One to Ten

Please and Thank You Book / Polite Elephant / Pie Rats Ahoy! / Pig Will and Pig Won't / Pop-Up Colors / Pop-Up Opposites / Pop-Up Shapes / Pop-Up Time / Pop-Up Wheels / Richard Scarry's Longest Book Ever: 8 Feet of Lift-The-Flap Fun! / Sally Cats 123 / Sally's First Day of SChool / Santa Needs Help / Sneef Saves the Day! / Snowstorm / A Summer Picnic / The Space Shuttle and Other Fun Things: The Space Shuttle, Basic First Aid, Manholes, Mailing a Letter / Ten Scary Monsters / There Really Is an Easter Bunny / The Treasure Hunt / A Trip to the Moon / Watch Your Step, Mr. Rabbit! / When Bunny Grows Up / The Worst Helper Ever! / X-Rays and Other Fun Things: X-Rays, Where Bread Comes From, the Sun, on the Street

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