Scarry, a prolific children's author and illustrator, was best known for his Busytown books, about a fictional world populated by different animals. Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is Smith's favourite childhood book, and so publisher HarperCollins invited the designer to reinvent the book.
The fun for me is always the theme and the details. I love to plan the decorations, crafts, food, cake, and goody bags. Daniel is obsessed with his cars and trucks, so we knew that was to be incorporated. He is also obsessed with Richard Scarry’s book. We were going to do a Richard Scarry theme, but it was easier to make it the generic “Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.” The colors would be primary. Red, yellow, green (for a traffic light), and blue (Daniel’s favorite color.)
When Richard Scarry said “I’m not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten” he must have had my son in mind. We spent hours reading and re-reading Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, always finding something new in the detailed drawings. Each page is filled with anthropomorphic animals and colorful vehicles, all on a mission. The Pig Family is going on a picnic, Officer Flossy is chasing a terrible driver named Dingo Dog, Mistress Mouse is making auto repairs, and Goldbug simply shows up everywhere. The illustrations emphasize the action and motion on each page, as hats fly in the air, products fall off the trucks and vehicles of every size, shape and form race by. While there are the usual trucks, boats, planes and cars on every page, the reason Richard Scarry’s book is so unique is that readers can also find wildly imaginative forms of transportation with every page they turn. There’s an ant bus, a 2-seater crayon car, an apple van and a pickle truck. Ahead of his time, Scarry even included a battery-powered car. The creative characters, vehicles, descriptions and events push readers to take their own imaginations to new levels and prompt them to look more carefully at the world around them. Readers also have fun keeping track of Dingo Dog as he tries to evade Officer Flossy, and little Goldbug who is cleverly hidden throughout the story. This book is a treasure!