Richard Scarry's
Great Big Schoolhouse Readers

illustrations by Huck Scarry

Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse Readers
illustrated by Huck Scarry

Book review by Susan Syddall

Ages 4-8

Fantastic New Richard Scarry Readers Inspire Children

Ever since we first discovered books created by Richard Scarry, my boys (aged 4 & 6) have loved them.

When we came across the newly released Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse Readers, created specifically for children learning to read, we were thrilled.

The readers were snapped up in minutes and were being read with enthusiasm.

Richard Scarry's Schoolhouse Readers series

This is precisely what a great reader should do - inspire and encourage children to grab a book and well ... read!

Perhaps one reason why the Richard Scarry readers are so popular is the illustrations. They are drawn in a cartoonish style and brightly coloured.

The illustrations are packed full of details. There's always so much action happening. In fact, the illustrations often depict chaotic scenes which captivate children's imaginations.

It's the rich sense of humour shown in the illustrations which appeals to children. Someone is always falling over, or something is exploding, or the wheels are flying off a car.

Richard Scarry once said, "Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it's the FUN I want to get across."

This series of readers definitely succeeds in promoting reading through fun. When children have fun reading, they learn with greater ease.

These books are crammed full of fascinating characters, all doing something different and often wacky. It's possible to sit down with these books for extended periods of time just looking at the pictures as there is so much happening.

The characters drive around in the strangest vehicles, such as an apple car, a carrot racing car or a pickle shaped truck.

The main characters in the book we're looking at right now, Go, Huckle, Go! (a Level 1 reader) are a cat named "Huckle" and his ever present off-sider, a worm named "Lowly". These two get into all sorts of adventures that capture young minds and set their imaginations soaring.

From a language development perspective, there's so much that you can talk with children about simply based on the illustrations. 'Who', 'what', 'where', 'when' and 'why' questions can very easily be used to stimulate conversations based on the pictures.

At present, the Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse Readers include three levels, each increasing slightly in difficulty. They cater to beginning readers up to those who are starting to read independently with some help.

The readers have been developed by reading specialists. The words and sentence structures have been carefully selected to help children progress and develop reading confidence.

The front of each reader includes tips for parents or carers to keep in mind when reading these books with children. The tips are designed to help adults encourage children to read using various strategies.

Richard Scarry was a prolific artist, creating more than 300 books during his lifetime.

His son, Huck Scarry, now continues Richard Scarry's legacy.

It is Huck Scarry who has illustrated this series, Richard Scarry's Great Big Schoolhouse Readers, and they are as every bit as good as the books created by his father. In fact, if you didn't know it, you'd think that Richard Scarry was still creating these terrific books.

Read more of Susan's reviews.

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