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Richard Scarry is scary

Submitted by on Wednesday, 20 May 2009 No Comment

richard_scarryKool-Aid. The ice cream truck. Potted meat.

Funny how some things you loved as a kid just don’t resonate as an adult. Add Richard Scarry to the list.

Sadly, Big Guy has been on a Richard Scarry kick of late, quickly moving from our copy of “What Do People Do All Day” to the edition of “Cars and Trucks and Things that Go” that he keeps borrowing from the library.

They both give me a headache.

First of all, the jam-packed pages remind adult me a little too much of my TV room – stuff stuck in odd corners, critters peeking out from hidey holes where they shouldn’t be, goofy accidents waiting to happen at every turn.

And story line? Forget that. It’s as illogical as one of Big Guy’s leaps from “can God vote?” to “can I have a snow cone?”

I’m not even sure what qualifies as “reading” with these books. Is it time spent with the book – that easily can be an hour or more. Or is it time spent actually peering at words and uttering them aloud – that’s only about 15 minutes.

I’m still enough of a child to understand why I was such a huge Scarry fan as a kid, though I  don’t get why I loved potted-meat sandwiches.

The colors. The chaos. The busy-ness that makes Busy Town an exciting place to explore – you never know whether you’ll run into a pumpkin car or a buffalo motorcycle. You might learn about making paper on one page and building a house on the next.

Scarry’s sneaky that way. As much as I gripe, the guys wouldn’t know as much as they do about everything that goes on inside the walls of a home were it not for the chapter on building Stitches the Tailor’s new home.

Somehow the young mind is better able to sort through the noise and find the signal better than the adult brain can. I cannot imagine absorbing an economics text written ala Scarry. On the other hand, maybe they should try it, because I’ll admit I could barely absorb an economics text written in the traditional manner.

So I’ll tolerate scary Scarry in the name of education. But I’ll still look forward to the day when the guys can read it on their own and I’m no longer held hostage by a kiddy lit migraine.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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