by Richard Scarry (1968)
I have fond but vague memories of Richard Scarry books, but revisiting What Do People Do All Day? with Van has shown his work to be even better than I recalled. There’s nothing better than cut away illustrations of how things work. Personally, I’m fond of the cityscapes of Busytown that show all the people in their offices and homes. Meanwhile Van, a gadget man, is enthralled with the bisections of boats and houses.
We forget sometimes, that little ones are just starting to figure out how the world works (why else is a remote control infinitely more interesting than a plastic light up toy?) and this book is absolutely perfect for curious minds.
My only complaint is that only an abridged version is readily available (unless you can find it used) and it ends rather abruptly making us wish for more.
The drawings are quite charming too – that little worm in the Peter Pan hat particularly tugs at my sentimental-about-childhood heart strings.