Jan 2, 2012

#TheList, No. 79: What Do People Do All Day?

I love Richard Scarry. I didn't have the books as a child, but I was familiar with the Busytown inhabitants from the cartoon rendition that eventually aired on Nickelodeon. So it was fun to read through and see all of the characters again. Oh yeah, this is definitely a nostalgic addition to The List.

But it's a nostalgic entry that has merit. Kids love to point to things in books while they're being read to and constantly ask "what's that?" Everything is labeled is in this book, which makes answering those sometimes pesky questions slightly easier, plus it helps kids who are reading on their own for the first time.  Funny pictures and valuable lessons.  Score! 

In What Do People Do All Day? Scarry covers the day to day actions of various employees, including farmers, masons, firefighters, doctors, etc.  I only have an abridged version, so I'm not sure what was cut out, but it looks like the majority of the occupations covered in the book are very hands-on types, which I like because I feel like those are often glossed over for office jobs in a lot of children's literature (from what I've read, at least).  What I do know is that Scarry's books were reworked to cut down on some of the sexism and stereotypes.  Some of it is still prevalent (I can't decide if the Farmer buying his wife earrings in the shape of eggbeaters is sexist or hilarious), but there are more female workers, male teachers, and such, which is nifty.

Another bonus for the adults reading this with kids: the pictures are often hilarious.  They're full of subtle jokes kids won't understand, like the Rabbit family pulling up to their new house with a four level car just stuffed with baby bunnies. 

All in all, I love Richard Scarry and I think his books are incredibly useful tools for helping kids learn about various aspects of life as well as some pretty handy vocabulary.  One last thing...check out the butcher on the cover of this book.  Bottom left hand corner.  And now you're freaked out.  

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