Sunday, January 22, 2017

Busy Books

by Alison Farrell

The moment I introduced my son Finn to the world of Richard Scarry, we commenced a 3 year immersion into the goings-on of Busytown.  From potty training to plane rides, Scarry’s books have traveled with us through milestones and continents.  The hours we steeped in Busytown allowed me to consider why this category is special.   

Image: from Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever

The first thing I can identify is the amount of detail on each page.  Detail asks us to take time and look, and then converse about what we are seeing. While looking, we learn new words, search for repeating characters, and chuckle at the myriad of follies and vehicular misconducts that plague the town. The back and forth discussion about what we see creates a delightfully rich experience between caregiver, child, and book.

A selection of my personal Richard Scarry collection

The next thing I love is that my son can visually read these books on his own.  I believe that the ability to be independently engrossed in a book at such a young age is empowering.   Finn was able to claim ownership over his own reading, which has eventually spilled over to other books.  

Finn getting into Busytown

Last, I love that there are multiple layers to the stories.  The reader can choose to focus on the main story arc, seek-and-find characters, or labeled categories.  One can easily open to any page and dive into the book.

Over the years, Finn’s interests have expanded, but his love of this busy, slow-reading, immersive-style book has stayed the same.  The group is not clear cut and fairly reader dependent, but one thing that ties it together is detailed drawings.  This is most often found in books with elements of:

  • seek-and-find
  • categories and labels
  • step by step directions (how things are made, where things come from, etc.)
  • books about ways of life (cities, farms etc.)

Some busy books I love that exist outside of Busytown:

A few of my favorite busy books!
Bus Stops, by Taro Gomi

Mamoko, a series by Alessandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizielińska

Town and Country, by Alice and Martin Provensen

The Lost House, by B.B. Cronín

The Bear’s Song, series by Benjamin Chaud

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds, by Marianne Dubuc

In the Town All Year Round, by Rotraut Susanne Berner

Anno’s Journey, and Anno’s Counting Book, and others by Mitsumasa Anno

The Airport Book, by Lisa Brown

At the Same Moment Around the World, by Clotilde Perrin

Le Coulis Rouge, by Clotilde Perrin

Have You Seen My Dragon?  by Steve Light

The Ultimate Book of Vehicles from Around the World, by Anne-Sophie Baumann and Didier

Where Everyday Things Come From, by Aldren Watson

Look!  A Book!  A Zany Seek and Find Adventure series by Bob Staake

The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy, by Beatrice Alemagna

Who Needs Donuts?  By Mark Alan Stamaty

People by Peter Spier

People by Blexbolex

Do you have a favorite busy book?

1 comment:

  1. Greta post! You might also enjoy WHERE IS THE CAKE? from T.T.Khing