Author Richard Scarry

Here are some interesting facts about Richard Scarry:

  • Richard McClure Scarry was born on June 5, 1919, Boston Massachusetts.
  • Scarry’s environment while growing up was full of joy and compassion.
  • Following high school graduation, Scarry enrolled in business school, but soon dropped out.
  • He then moved on and studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  • Scarry was drafted into the US Army during WWII.
  • After the war he freelanced for art departments at various magazines.
  • Scarry also did illustrations for children’s books authors, including for his future wife Patricia Murphy.
  • His career took off in the 1950’s when he started working for Little Golden Books.
  • Scarry’s first best-seller was in 1963: “Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever.”
  • From 1976 to 1978, Playskool produced a series of toy sets titled Richard Scarry’s Puzzletown.
  • The toys featured plastic figures of Scarry characters and vehicles along with cardboard scenery that could be set up in a grid of grooves in a plastic base.
  • Scarry updated his books with new editions to make them conform to changing social values.
  • Moral and religious elements and depictions of gender roles were altered or removed.
  • Characters engaged in activities reflecting traditional gender roles were altered to make the scenes more gender neutral.
  • His wife, Patricia Murphy, was a writer of children’s textbooks.
  • She is credited with writing many of his stories including, “Good Night, Little Bear,” “The Bunny Book,” and “The Fishing Cat.”
  • In 1972, Scarry and his wife bought a chalet in Gstaad, Switzerland.
  • He wrote and illustrated from 8 AM until 4 PM with an hour break for lunch.
  • His office contained a single desk, lamp, and chair.
  • In 1989, eight of Scarry’s books made the top 50 best-selling children’s books of all time.
  • He died of a heart attack on April 30, 1994 in Gstaad, Switzerland.
  • Scarry’s son, Richard Scarry, Jr. is also an illustrator and sometimes works under the name Huck Scarry.
1990’s edition of Richard Scarry’s “Best Word Book Ever.” Notice the gender-neutral occupations and gender role inclusivity.
Side-by-side of one illustration change