Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Huck Scarry's Steam Train Journey

Huck Scarry's Steam Train Journey
Huck Scarry ~ Collins, 1979

Now, wouldn't ya know that Richard Scarry's son (Richard Scarry, Jr.) would've been nicknamed Huck? And wouldn't ya know that he'd end up being at artist, just like his father? This is the first Huck Scarry I've seen up close, and it doesn't disappoint. The art is wonderful and looks a bit like what might happen if you took Richard Scarry and Peter Spier and mushed them together.

My son was never a train boy, but lots of readers write in looking for vintage train goodness. This definitely fits the bill. Obviously, the man has a passion for "things that go" as evidenced by his books Things That Sail, Things That Fly, On Wheels, and... well, Things That Go, among others. Though he still publishes Busytown books using his father's name and style (ala Laurent de Brunhoff), it's obvious here that Mr. Huck has his own, very competent, artistic leanings.

Let's jump aboard with Soots and his dog Cinder as they take their steam train on an imaginary journey and see the old trains of many lands...

New York trains from 1895. An Australian locomotive from 1865. A Dutch tank Locomotive of 1930. A 1922 Foden Steam Bus. A Great Western Railway Diesel from 1934.

This charmer is a pretty serious (albeit, busy) look at the world of steam engines. Scanning through Huck's backlist, it seems as if all the books he's published in his own style are more history and science based that what his father created. But still, the Scarry humor is ever alive. I particularly like the little human asides hidden within (i.e. the man being dragged into the water after hooking a shark). I love it when the children of artists carry on their parent's legacies, but it's especially fun to see the world these children can create on their own.

Here's a Finnish TV story about Richard Scarry, though if you fast forward, the interview with Huck is in English and he talks about traveling with his father via train and being the inspiration for Huckle cat. Pretty cool.


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OnePerfectDay said...

This looks just wonderful!

Unknown said...

Of COURSE richard scarry's son would be nicknamed huck! Oh I love it! wow... so cool to have gotten his fathers nack for art and children's books.

Ben said...

Good call on the Scarry + Spier analogy. And a good lead in general on this illustrator!

Greg Grehan said...

I remember this book from when I was about 6 years of age (I'm nearly 34 now). It is not only wonderfully illustrated and narates well, it is clever in the way it portrays the train passing through different eras and places from page to page. Each scene lines up and links forwards and backwards, creating a journey as it goes.
Educational and a great little story for the kids. I'll be reading it to mine!
- Greg Grehan

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