My husband is not really a reminiscing kind of guy. He rarely talks that much about his childhood and when we're at a toy store or a book store and I get all excited about something that I remember from back then, chances are pretty great that he's never seen it before. He humors my enthusiasm as I am on a quest to relive childhood fun through our boys. I just ordered our nearly-three-year-old a really cool wooden play kitchen for his birthday! I can't wait to play with it. I mean, I can't wait to watch him play with it. Right. Yes. Really, he loves to cook so he'll be out of his mind when I set this up for him. I'm sure it won't wait until his birthday all the way at the end of July.
Anyway, the one thing from childhood that my husband talks about with great love and affection (besides his mother) are Richard Scarry books. We didn't have any when I was a kid so this was a new world to me (although, strangely, we had a Patsy Scarry book which we loved and which nobody else has ever heard of). He was definitely right. They are the best childrens' books out there and can capture a kid's attention for literally hours. We're actually pretty sure large portions of our son's vocabulary have come from spending hours perusing these books with his daddy.
We have acquired all but a couple of the Richard Scarry books that are still in print. Cars and Trucks and Things that Go is our son's favorite book. If you have a toddler, you NEED this book. There was one Richard Scarry book - my husband's favorite - that had eluded us because it went out of print a long time ago. It is called Busy, Busy World. Well, I lucked out on ebay (ebay rocks, by the way) and found one for a mere $19.99. I could not believe that nobody else had bid on it and that I won it so easily. When looking for this book in online used bookstores (like amazon's z-shops) it usually costs about $75 for a mediocre copy. Not only was $20 a great deal, but the book is virtually brand new. It looks almost untouched.
It turned out to be one of the best Father's Day gifts ever. My husband just stared at it in almost-reverence. He and our oldest spent at least a half hour just looking through the pages that first night and I had the satisfaction of finding the perfect gift for a guy who just doesn't like "stuff."
So, should you be walking through Half Price Books or some other little used bookstore and you come across this book, BUY IT. Or, at the very least, go grab yourself a copy of one of his other books. It really will occupy your child for longer than you would expect. It's like Richard Scarry was just tuned into the minds of young children.