Sunday, November 27, 2005

Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever

Our kids grew up with Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever and it was one of their favorite books in their young years. They would often leave the book open on a chair in our family room so that they could go over to it through the day to look at the illustrations and words and maybe point out some pictures to me so that I could tell them the word for that picture. In addition to identifying individual words the book also had a bit of a narrative to go along with the various scenes. There were also characters who recurred throughout that book and other books by Richard Scarry. Lowly Worm was one of my favorite characters (he lived inside a bright red apple), and there were also Huckle Cat, Lowly's best friend, and Sergeant Murphy, the town policeman, among others. We read and loved the book so much that by the time our children had outgrown it our book was completely worn out.

When we learned we were going to have a grandchild that was one of the books I knew I wanted to get for the baby even though it would be a while before he could appreciate it. I began to look for it in bookstores and couldn't find it at first. Then one day I spotted it and immediately bought it. When I looked through it it looked similar, though somehow not quite the same, and it seemed thinner (fewer pages) than I remembered it. But still I was very glad to have found it and we gave it to Aidan. So I was disappointed when I read this post today on Althouse. Apparently in the newer version of the book they changed some things to make the book more "politically correct" than the old version. Some of the changes seem ok. Others seem to have taken some of the personality out of the book and also some of the life and drama that made it so interesting to our children and made them want to know the word for every illustration they saw. It also seems they've removed some of the values that were good for children to learn.

Follow the link to the Althouse and her comments and then her link to Flickr to see some of the changes for yourself. The Flickr link is very clever - you can see the changes as a slide show if you want and some parts of the pictures have comments when you move your cursor over them. The version we had was definitely the earlier edition. I think I'd like to start looking around used book stores to see if I can find the original version. (By the way, this post is by Carol.)

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