Friday, October 14, 2011

Children's Book Review: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book

Name of Book: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book
Author / Illustrator: Written and illustrated by Richard Scarry
What's It All About: There are two tales in this book.  The first is called The Supermarket Mystery and the second is The Great Pie Robbery Both stories feature heros Sam Cat and Dudley Pig.  They are detectives.
In The Supermarket Mystery Sam and Dudley drive to Grocer Dog's supermarket to help him find a thief.  Dudley and Sam change into disguises.  Dudley always keeps disguises in his umbrella.  Sam dresses up as a sack of potatoes and Dudley dresses up as a woman shopper.  They hunt for the thief and make a few mistakes on the way.  Poor Dudley! He's always getting into trouble.  But when the thief is found, Dudley can't find Sam.  He's been stolen as a bag of potatoes! Will Dudley catch the thief? Will Sam ever be found? Read on dear friends.
In The Great Pie Robbery some thieves have stolen pies from Ma Dog's Bakery.  Dudley Pig and Sam Cat look for clues.  They see the robbers escaping with cherry pie all over their faces.  Dudley has also discovered that one of them has torn their pants on a rose bush.  Dudley and Sam chase the robbers through a restaurant and back to their den where they won't come out.  Dudley pulls out another nifty disguise that he and Sam put on.  What do you think they dressed up as? A lady hippopotamus with a surprise for the thieves.  Oh those detectives are clever!
My Favorite Bit:
From The Supermarket Mystery I really loved the scenes of the supermarket in general.  I loved when Dudley ate a stuffed piece of fruit off a lady's hat and I love when he makes the alligator babies cry on accident.  The page where Dudley rolls after Blackfinger Wolf through the dangerous side of town is quite spooky.
From The Great Pie Robbery there is a line that has survived in our family.  We love to say, "No, we are sitting on our own hats." To find this page you'll have to get the book and read it.
As I side note I must mention that Richard Scarry is in the highest class of children's book authors and illustrators and one of my absolute favorites.  You can always tell when someone writes for children without "writing for children". 
Suitable Age For Reading It To: This book is like all Scarry books.  You can look at it with any age and start reading the stories around three-ish.  Sometimes they are a bit long but these two are a great length for even that age.  And my son and I being respectively nine and thirty-two still love this book so there you go--there isn't a stopping point (as I've said before and will say again) with all good childrens books.
Go Get It: Richard Scarry's Great Big Mystery Book on Amazon US
A Little About The Author / Illustrator:
Read my earlier spot here for a very short blurb: BLURB. 
Otherwise, here's a little more about Mr. Scarry:
Born June 5, 1919 and passed away April 30, 1994 of a heart attack after surgery for esophageal cancer in Gstaad at age 74. Born in Boston, Massachusetts to shop owners, Richard disliked school and received poor grades.  After trying business school at his father's request, Richard went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston until he was drafted during WWII.  Using his talents even in the army, Scarry served as an art director, editor, and writer of Army information publications for North Africa and Italy.  When the war ended he worked in art departments at various magazines in NYC and later signed a contract to produce books for The Artists and Writers Guild to produce books for their Little Golden Books line.  He married Patricia Murphy in 1948 and in 1972 they purchased a chalet in Gstaad, where Scarry spent most of his time in his studio.

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