Monday, June 09, 2008

Richard Scarry Gets Scary?

Guest commentary by Postmodern Conservative.

Actually, Richard Scarry books have be dumbed-down for years, but I only noticed it recently because of my young children. I regret now that some of their older Scarry books have bit the dust from over-use. As it turns out, they were irreplaceable.

What about new editions and reprints? Don't count on it. For example, I own a copy of Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever, an original from the 1960s. It's in rather poor shape so I was thrilled to see that it has been re-issued. It's the most visually appealing of all his books with some great stories. But it turns out that the story of the Quebec bruin, "Pierre Bear," is gone. I imagine it's because he is shown hunting seals and turning their pelts into fur coats.

For a sad comparison of Scarry's popular Best Word Book Ever between 1963 and 1991 editions, see this. Not only is the artwork altered in the name of political correctness, in many cases it just plain remedial compared to Scarry's originals. Another point made by critics is that the language has been made stupider compared to what kids a generation or two ago were reading. Unlike Scarry, these publishers don't know how to write for children, only overindulged leftist adults.