Biographical Information:

Dates: 1919-1994Dates in Ridgefield: 1950-1959
children's booksillustrator
Bananas Gorilla with his armload of watches; Sergeant Murphy blowing his whistle; Mr. Fixit with his chest of tools. Any kid who grew up from the 1960s onward and who didn’t know these characters from the pen of Richard Scarry, they have nevertheless been friends to tens of millions of children. “Scarry revealed to kids that the everyday world was a place that could be understood–and that learning was fun,” said one biographer. Born in 1919 in Boston, Richard McClure Scarry studied at the Museum of Fine Arts School there. After serving as an Army lieutenant during World War II, he became a freelance artist in New York City. In 1949, his first book, Two Little Minters, was published and a career was born. In 1951, he and his wife, Patricia Murphy, moved to Ridgefield, renting a place on the Conklin Farm on North Street, a locale that inspired many of his later farm illustrations. In 1953, their son was born; though they named him Richard, he would always be called Huck, like the Busytown cat who would follow, and today Huck Scarry is an illustrator of children’s books himself. In 1959, the Scarrys moved to Westport, and 10 years later, to Switzerland. His first book as an author/illustrator was The Best Word Book Ever, published in 1963, which also introduced Busytown. Over a 26-year career, he did more than 300 books, with total sales of over 100 million copies world-wide, and translated into 28 languages. “I’m not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten,” he once said. “I am very happy when people write that they have worn out my books....I consider it the ultimate compliment.” Richard Scarry died in 1994 in Switzerland at the age of 75. His papers and drawings are in the University of Connecticut archives.
Titles (partial):The Best Word Book Ever, 1963Busy, Busy Town, 1995Richard Scarry’s A Night at the Airport, 2001Richard Scarry’s A Day at the Fire Station, 2003Richard Scarry’s Father Cat’s Christmas Tree, 2003
--Sources: Notable Ridgefielders–Jack Sanders; Something About the Author, Vol. 75; www.openlibrary.org; Wikipedia; www.uconn.com
Check the library catalog for titles by this author.