Richard McClure Scarry (June 5, 1919 — April 30, 1994) - (last name rhymes with "marry") What Do People Do All Day? - Richard Scarry - Review - So, What DO people Do All day? -
was a popular American children's author and illustrator who published over 300 books with total sales of over 100 million worldwide.
Scarry was born in Boston, Massachusetts, where his parents ran a shop. The Scarry family enjoyed a comfortable life even during the time of the Great Depression. Following high school graduation, Scarry enrolled in a business college but soon dropped out, finding it not to his liking. He then studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where he remained until being drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II.
Following the war, Scarry worked for the art departments of various magazines before making a career breakthrough in 1949 with Little Golden Books.
Scarry's most famous series of books was about Busytown. Scarry's characters are almost always anthropomorphic animals. His books have been popular with children throughout the world. Over 100 million copies of his books have been sold, and they have been translated into 30 languages. Barnes & Noble.com - Books: Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, by Richard Scarry, Hardcover, Giant Little Golden Book
While his books are largely populated by common animal species such as cats, rabbits, domestic pigs, and mice, he proved to be quite adept at giving human characteristics to a seemingly endless number of creatures. Beavers, raccoons, hippopotami, rhinoceri, owls, bears, goats, elephants, foxes, gorillas, crocodiles, dogs, wolves, anteaters, hyenas, baboons, chickens, worms, and insects were just some of the other animals to be featured in Scarry's works. Many of his later illustrations feature characters in traditional Swiss clothing, such as lederhosen, and show architecturally correct drawings of half-timber houses. Examinations of drawings featuring mechanical devices, such as the rigging on a sailboat, also show that they were drawn with accuracy.
In the 1980s and 1990s, many of his "Best Ever" series of books were converted into very popular animated videos, which are still available on DVD and VHS. Some of these animated films include Richard Scarry's Best Silly Stories and Songs Videos Ever and The Busiest Firefighters Ever. The Busytown books were also adapted into an animated series, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, which ran on Showtime from 1993 to 1996 and later reran in the late 1990's on Nickelodeon and Noggin. Busytown was also featured at the Carnegie Science Center from June 13 through September 8, 2002 in an interactive exhibit entitled "Richard Scarry's Busytown." Carnegie Magazine
Titles reprinted in recent years have been significantly condensed from their original versions.
Scarry's wife, Patricia Murphy, was a writer of children's textbooks who met Richard during collaboration when he was a textbook illustrator. She is credited with writing many of the stories in his subsequent children's books, such as Good Night, Little Bear, The Bunny Book, and The Fishing Cat.
In 1972 the Scarrys bought a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland. Here he founded his studio where he spent most of the day (from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) writing and illustrating his books. His studio contained a single desk, lamp and chair. His wife was told not to bother him except for his hour break for lunch.
Scarry died of a heart attack in Gstaad at age 74 in 1994.
Scarry's papers and drawings are in the collection of the University of Connecticut archives.
His son, Richard Scarry Jr., is also an illustrator, sometimes working under his nickname, Huck Scarry, sometimes working in his father's style as "Richard Scarry". Huck is the nickname of Huckle Cat, one of the most commonly recurring Busytown characters. Scarry Jr lives in Vienna, Austria; socialites Olympia and Fiona Scarry are his daughters.