26 September 2013
Last updated at 11:54 ET
Nearly 20 years after the illustrator's death, a new Richard Scarry book has been published focusing on the long-running character of Lowly Worm. Illustrated by US author Richard Scarry, it was completed by his son Huck after he uncovered the sketches among his father's belongings, following his death in 1994, aged 74.
Lowly Worm, and his signature Tyrolean hat, was one of the popular characters of Richard Scarry's Busytown. His best friend was Huckle Cat, who was inspired by Richard Scarry's own son, Huck. Huckle also wore Swiss dress, in his case Lederhosen, a nod to Scarry's adopted hometown Gstaad, where the family lived from 1972 onwards.
Richard Scarry, who studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, insisted that educational books could be fun too. He said: "Everything has an educational value if you look for it. But it’s the fun I want to get across." His books, which have sold more than 300m copies and have been translated into 28 languages, have remained popular for more than 50 years.
Richard Scarry's son, Huck - also an art school graduate - would often help his father to complete his drawings. When Scarry died in 1994, Huck continued creating new books featuring the much-loved characters of Busytown. "What I think is perhaps the most remarkable thing about his books is that they are timeless, and know no borders. His funny animal characters are equally loved by children anywhere on the planet," said Huck.
This year Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever celebrates its 50th anniversary. Published in 1963, it began to draw criticism in later years for old-fashioned sexual stereotyping, which saw female characters relegated to doing the housework. Scarry responded by revising the earlier edition to include female farmers and mechanics and men running the home.
Scarry received no awards for his work during his lifetime, but was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Society of Illustrators in 2012. "My father would often say that the greatest compliment was to find a copy of one of his books, the spine broken, the pages torn, the covers bumped with softened corners, the book held together with transparent tape: the telltale signs of a book that is loved, and read over and over and over again," said his son.