Centenary of Richard Scarry's birth marked in China

By Zhang Junmian
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, May 15, 2019
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A seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry was held on May 12 in Beijing, with the aim of saluting the world-famous author and illustrator of children's books who has enormously delighted children for generations. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

A seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of the late Richard Scarry was held on May 12 in Beijing, saluting the world-famous American author and illustrator of children's books that have delighted children for generations. 

The seminar, part of a series of commemorative events including exhibitions, salons and sharing sessions, was co-hosted by Beijing-based Dandelion Children's Book House, the Beijing Reading Festival and China's major online bookstore Dangdang.com. 

Richard Scarry's books still greatly appeal to readers today though many of his earliest works dated from the 1950s. They have been a great hit in China since they were introduced in 2007 by Dandelion Children's Book House.

Yan Xiaoli, founder and chief editor of the book house, described Scarry's classic Little Golden Books as full of information, meticulously designed and filled with details and imagination, helpful for children in learning language and understanding nature and social life. 

Liu Yu, a senior director of the Children's Books Division at Dangdang's Publications Department, said: "Scarry's Little Golden Books series have sold more than nine million copies via Dangdang.com since they were put on shelves on March 19, 2007." 

Various speakers described Richard Scarry as a good storyteller in pictures, with rich details organized in a playful and well-balanced way to entertain his readers, opening a new world full of imagination for them. 

Huck Scarry, his son, said he thought one of the main reasons why his father's works have been popular for so long is that they are very funny. "Laughter and fun, and there is always fun. You can convey the story, or information, through laughter in a very beautiful way", he said. 

He continued: "The other thing is that my father is a very, very good designer. [In his books], everything is light and easy, with a lot of things happening. And he was tremendously balanced [in use of] colors."

Basically, his drawing stimulates children's imagination, and that makes the world more colorful, more interesting, and open their mind, said the Scarry descendant, who is also a renowned artist and illustrator.

"My father knew the secret of retaining a childlike quality within himself and being very childlike in a positive way, positive about life," he added.

Huck, whose real name is Richard Scarry Jr., is the inspiration for Huckle Cat, a beloved character in the book "Busytown". He got his nickname from Huckleberry Finn, a fictional character created by celebrated U.S. author Mark Twain. 

Li Su, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said that Scarry's books, with an extraordinary balance of pictures and information, as well as sense of humor, had the ability to stimulate children's initiative to read and explore the broad reading space for fun.

Li continued: "Characters in his books are always facing various situations. That is also why his books are attractive."

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