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Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever (Giant Golden Book) Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, September 1, 1999
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From Publishers Weekly
The latest by the author-illustrator of consistent bestsellers is as tall as a toddler, the only two-foot book ever published in this country for children. Scarry packs countless, full-color pictures of his familiar characters on the wide pages, each perky creature identified by a short word or phrase. As a giant dictionary and amusement, the book is a can't-fail item for small boys and girls. It is strongly constructed and can stand up to years of use.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Illus. in full color. "Two feet high, this board book is as tall as a toddler. Scarry packs countless pictures of his characters on the wide pages, each perky creature identified by a short word or phrase. Strongly constructed, it's a can't-fail item for small boys and girls."--Publishers Weekly. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Which is why it's surprising that a lot of parents today have not heard of Scarry.
That's a shame, because his books have a wonderfully engrossing quality that draws in children like few other books on the market today. Scarry's anthropomorphic animal kingdom is filled with crazy happenings and near disasters as its characters navigate their world. The illustrations contain an attention to detail that undoubtedly served as an inspiration for the "Where's Waldo" books, as little events occur in hidden places and drive curiosity and exploration of the pictures and text.
This "Best Word Book Ever" is a large format book that helps beginning readers attach words to images. In this, it's exemplary, and will keep youngsters reading for hours. The simple item labels occur within a context that helps children understand how words and what they describe fit together. It's simple, yet brilliant, stuff.
The best recommendation I can give: This book belongs in every household with young children. It's so good, it may be one of those that gets handed down from one generation to next. I know, because that's what I did, passing down this book that I loved as a child to my own son. And I just gave a copy to my young nephew this past Christmas.
Here's what the book is: The Best Word Book Ever has pages and pages of vocabulary building illustrations. Each two page spread covers a different topic, and the pages are nice and big so lots of pictures of objects related to that topic can fit on each page, along with captions. Each page also has a short sentence about the scene, and a question your child can try to answer while looking at the illustrations. For example, for actions, the question is "What is one thing you can't do?" And, when you look at the pictures of animals, a fly is flying, and the caption points out that you can't do it. The question for each page is something I especially like, because it can make a child slow down and try to study or read the page more. And some questions are more open ended (ie. What do you think each animal will do next?) so the child won't just memorize and point to the answer on the 5th reading.
The back story is that when this was first published in 1963, it had 92 pages. Then, in 1980, it was changed to the new revised edition which has 71 pages and is still in print today, as of 2014. That new revised edition also went back and politically corrected each page. For "Toys", a pig shooting marbles got a dress and bow and went from male to female, and lots of genders changed. And, on the cover illustration, mom in the kitchen alone was redrawn to mom and dad cooking together in the kitchen. Other changes are more hmmm? For "Keeping Healthy", a big scarey looking rhinocerous dentist was changed to a cuddly looking bear dentist. Maybe so kids won't be scared of the dentist?
Anyway, on to the unabridged edition:
The biggest advantage to buying an unabridged copy is the extra pages. I get 20 more pages, or 10 extra 2 page spreads of scenes, that are edited out of the current edition. I have to say, though, that the removed pages feel choppier to me. So, in my 1969 edition, some pages have a nice illustration that stretches across the full two page spread, and some have characters dotting the page like clip art. Those ones that are more like clip art dotting the page are the ones that got removed. Lots of the reviewers complaining about the abridgement go on about the Flower Garden being removed, but really it is just pictures of different flowers against a white background. There is no garden, or path through it. It's like clip art.
The biggest disadvantage to buying an unabridged copy is the hassle of getting one. Amazon merged all the pages and all the reviews for both the older longer edition, and a board book version which is a board book with 2 foot high pages. So, good luck figuring out what you are reading a review for, when you read any given review. It could be a 92 page book, it could be a 72 page book, it could be a 24 page board book that is 2 feet tall. And, good luck buying used copies from any bug resellers, because it's much more likely for them to post the book under the wrong edition. What a mess. "Standard used condition" tells you nothing about condition or what book you are getting. So, you are stuck reading book descriptions to find something that lists the 92 page count. It's less clean than with a book that is truly 100% out of print. And, also, my used copy came tore up - just tore up. It's old and it's a children's book, so that's two things going against you getting a nice clean copy no matter how much you shop for one.
If you want a taste of the older book, without buying on, the "Best Storybook Ever" has several pages from the 1963 edition of the Best Word Book Ever. It has "In the Flower Garden", which is the removed page that most people seem to miss most. It also has several other scenes from the Best Word Book Ever, and it has those scenes reproduced from the 1963 edition. So, they politically corrected Best Work Book Ever, but didn't take those corrections over to the same exact reproduced pages in Best Storybook Ever. You can hop on over to that book and use "Look Inside" to see "The Rabbit Family's House" on page 8 of Best Storybook Ever with mom cooking alone in the kitchen. The only edits there are to change from larger pages in this book to smaller pages in that one.
Really, if you are missing the old unabridged Best Word Book Ever, then Best Storybook Ever is a good option, because it's so much simpler to buy and you can get it new and clean.
Each full layout has a different theme, from City, to Farm, to Construction, to Airport to Ships. Note that this isn't a "story" book, but a "each page has a different theme" book.