cars and trucks

Oscar has figured out exactly which pages in all of his books have pictures of cars or trucks or tractors or anything with wheels on them. He opens the book, flips til he finds it and sticks there. Reading to himself …. creeughhhh (that’s my best transcription of his car noise). I try to turn the page to go on with the story but then we get stuck in this page turning tug of war and he always wins. So I went looking through his bookshelves for a book with wheels on every page. I found this golden book that I got at a rummage sale I think, Cars and Trucks. Copyright 1976, 1959, 1951. It’s illustrated by Richard Scarry and it is fantastic! Every page is better than the last, all cool 50s style!


The full service gas station!


Did kids in the 50s really wear aviator hats and goggles to school?!


The happy farmers waiting for kitties to cross the road


And then you turn the page and there’s this! Total 1970s! Look at Dad’s mustache, the huge wide white belts, Mom’s Carol Brady hairdo! Same kitty though.


So what the heck happened here? Is Richard Scarry still the illustrator of this page? 20 years later?  Was there an original that was destroyed by the time they reprinted in 1976? Or were they trying to make it more current? Could they not find someone to more closely emulate Richard Scarry’s illustrations? I’m so curious about this page.

15 thoughts on “cars and trucks

  1. Giao says:

    Hmm, interesting find in that book! You might have a real gem on your hands!
    There’s a new vintage bookshop that opened in downtown Mt Prospect on Emerson (across from the Oberweis shop) that has a stash of vintage Golden Books. I had a quick look through but wasn’t very thorough, but maybe next time you’re up to Mitsuwa you can swing over and have a gander. They have the sweetest antique cash register and paper cutter too (that they actually use)!

  2. rhya says:

    hey hillary
    love those illustrations
    my studio space got delayed, my computer was having space issues…i am going to be posting it tonight.

  3. patricia says:

    my son loved the richard scarry books — especially cars and trucks and things that go and great big air book — heck i loved ’em too! had so much fun reading them with him. golden books are some of the best…

  4. Leslie says:

    Great book, Hillary! And how odd that there is the 70s page in there. Rather incongruous with the rest of the book, but it does make you wonder.
    I love hunting for vintage books too, but my kids always want to paw through them (which is great), but I always end up gritting my teeth a bit. One of my alltime fave items is “Baby’s House” illustrated by Mary Blair — love it so much. I have to keep that one hidden from babes… I mean?! 🙂

  5. hannah says:

    what a great book! eliot also has a truck fetish going.
    btw, the package arrived last night, and i couldnt wait! i let him open it. i should have some pics for you after work today. thank you again sooooo much!!!

  6. blackbird says:

    We have this book — from a garage sale I think. I think I was too baby-shocked to notice the difference in illustrations tho — my guess, having been someone who did book production, is that they lost the film or plates for those pages — and made due.

  7. Rachel says:

    I have a theory about the odd illustration. This site — — mentions that after moving from Golden Books to Random House he started to recieve hate mail for the first time. Complaints were made about Scarry’s portrayal of women (he was a reformed gigolo if you can believe it!) so he was asked to redraw some illustrations (for Best Word Book Ever for example) to halt falling sales.
    Of course Golden Books no longer had Scarry on their side, so if they came to a similar conclusion they would have had to employ a different artist to “fix” the pictures in any re-released books. Notice that it is the man inside the caravan with the little one while the woman relaxes outside. Yay feminism!

  8. hannah says:

    rachel that is crazy! i have totally noticed that about richard scarry. we have busy town, and that poor mama pig is always cleaning and cooking and then has to serve fat papa pig when he gets home from work! i always feel bad for her.

  9. hillary says:

    Rachel! That’s it! I hadn’t thought of that. I knew there was some issue with Busy Busy World. I think it is out of print because it is so outdated. That must be what happened here. I didn’t even notice the feminist bent of the dad in the trailer with the baby and the mom outside relaxing. Guess because that’s how it is around here!
    Thanks for solving the mystery for me!

  10. Jo Ann says:

    Hi Hillary: love it that Oscar loves wheels so much and love the Scarry history lesson. First thing I noticed about the 1970 page was how is a family of 5 going to fit into that little car, and how is that little car going to pull a trailer. I didn’t even catch the 70s update or the feminist twist. I still have all my kids’ Scarry books from the 70s so I will have go thru them with new eyes.

  11. jenny b says:

    Ah, the car/truck obsession of little boys. My son was smitten with Big Joe’s Trailer Truck. He wore out two copies of it, we just had to keep buying new ones. Now he drives a pickup truck! Some things never change.

  12. Jan says:

    I have this Big Golden Book, copyright 1951 by Western Publishing Company, Inc. Dad is sitting outside reading a book, smoking his pipe and Mom is in the kitchen washing dishes!
    Anyone know of a copy of Teeny Tiny Tales that is available for less than $100?? Can’t believe the prices for some of these vintage books.

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