How ‘Best Word Book Ever’ Got A Facelift

So many of us have fond memories of reading books by Richard Scarry that explore the world through adorable animal characters. Scarry has sold over 300 million copies of his work since 1949, but he is most well-known for his 1963 children’s book, “Best Word Book Ever.”

While reading a 1991 edition of Scarry’s book to his children, senior photo editor Alan Taylor at The Atlantic discovered some editorial changes. These visual changes slightly differed from the original publication that Taylor read as a child, and he found they were more inclusive to gender and racial norms.


Photo Credit: Distractify Via Andrew Taylor’s Flickr

The adorable illustrations Taylor noticed changed their original characters and labels to more relatable situations. For instance, a female rabbit character was no longer alone making food in a kitchen. Now, both herself and her male companion are cooking up some yummy grub.


Photo Credit: Distractify Via Andrew Taylor’s Flickr

Also present is a young bear who originally was called to breakfast. Now he goes to the kitchen to eat his breakfast. This suggests that he is capable of making his own food instead of just waiting to be fed.


Photo Credit: Distractify Via Andrew Taylor’s Flickr

Lastly, there is a significant change in work titles. No longer are labels like “a pretty stewardess” or “handsome pilot” used. The book now uses more appropriate pilot and flight attendant monikers.

To see the rest of these cute yet modern illustrations, check out our slideshow here.