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A seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry was held on May 12 in Beijing, with the aim of saluting the world-famous author and illustrator of children's books who has enormously delighted children for generations. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

A seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of the late Richard Scarry was held on May 12 in Beijing, saluting the world-famous American author and illustrator of children's books that have delighted children for generations.

The seminar, part of a series of commemorative events including exhibitions, salons and sharing sessions, was co-hosted by Beijing-based Dandelion Children's Book House, the Beijing Reading Festival and China's major online bookstore Dangdang.com.

Richard Scarry's books still greatly appeal to readers today though many of his earliest works dated from the 1950s. They have been a great hit in China since they were introduced in 2007 by Dandelion Children's Book House.

Yan Xiaoli, founder and chief editor of the book house, described Scarry's classic Little Golden Books as full of information, meticulously designed and filled with details and imagination, helpful for children in learning language and understanding nature and social life.

Liu Yu, a senior director of the Children's Books Division at Dangdang's Publications Department, said: "Scarry's Little Golden Books series have sold more than nine million copies via Dangdang.com since they were put on shelves on March 19, 2007."

Various speakers described Richard Scarry as a good storyteller in pictures, with rich details organized in a playful and well-balanced way to entertain his readers, opening a new world full of imagination for them.

Huck Scarry, his son, said he thought one of the main reasons why his father's works have been popular for so long is that they are very funny. "Laughter and fun, and there is always fun. You can convey the story, or information, through laughter in a very beautiful way", he said.

He continued: "The other thing is that my father is a very, very good designer. [In his books], everything is light and easy, with a lot of things happening. And he was tremendously balanced [in use of] colors."

Basically, his drawing stimulates children's imagination, and that makes the world more colorful, more interesting, and open their mind, said the Scarry descendant, who is also a renowned artist and illustrator.

"My father knew the secret of retaining a childlike quality within himself and being very childlike in a positive way, positive about life," he added.

Huck, whose real name is Richard Scarry Jr., is the inspiration for Huckle Cat, a beloved character in the book "Busytown". He got his nickname from Huckleberry Finn, a fictional character created by celebrated U.S. author Mark Twain.

Li Su, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), said that Scarry's books, with an extraordinary balance of pictures and information, as well as sense of humor, had the ability to stimulate children's initiative to read and explore the broad reading space for fun.

Li continued: "Characters in his books are always facing various situations. That is also why his books are attractive."

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Richard Scarry, one of the best-selling authors and illustrator of children's books in the world [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Famous Chinese illustrator Jiuer said Scarry was good at using foreshadowing to create interest, surprise or suspense to engage children in reading. "His books are the perfect combination of knowledge and entertainment." What matters most in children's books is that children like them, Jiuer believed.

Yu Guang, a diehard fan of Richard Scarry's books, said the author's stories originate from life, but go beyond life and reality, with incredible imagination and dramatic plots and storylines that create a new sense of fun and surprise each time he reads them.

Scarry had created the most chaotic city landscape that would have driven Sir Isaac Newton crazy.

Richard Scarry, born on June 5, 1919, in Boston, published more than 300 books with total sales of over 300 million worldwide, most of them depicting animals that take on human characteristics. His most popular works include "I Am a Bunny" (1963, written by Ole Risom, illustrated by Richard Scarry), "Best Word Book Ever" (first published in 1963), "What Do People Do All Day?" (1968), "Funniest Storybook Ever" (1972), "Cars and Trucks and Things That Go" (1974), "Lowly Worm Story Book (1977)", and "Huckle Cat's Busiest Day Ever" (1992).

The author, who passed away on April 30, 1994, in Gstaad, Switzerland, is best known for his series on Busytown, a fictional fantastic place inhabited by Huckle Cat, Lowly Worm and a cast of anthropomorphic animals. These cute characters' endless, wonderful adventures have enchanted both children and parents around the world.

He was posthumously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Illustrators in 2012.

An exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, opened on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. It will run until June 1. The exhibition, as a special session of the 2019 Bologna Illustrations Exhibition China Stops, will also go on tour to several other Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen.

A series of activities will be held in China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy this year in honor of Richard Scarry's birth centenary.

Huck Scarry (C), son of the legendary Richard Scarry, speaks at a seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of his father on May 12 in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Yan Xiaoli, founder and chief editor of Dandelion Children's Book House, speaks at a seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry on May 12 in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Liu Yu, a senior director of the Children's Books Division at Dangdang's Publications Department, speaks at a seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry birth on May 12 in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Li Su, a researcher at the Institute of Psychology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), speaks at a seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry on May 12 in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Chinese illustrator Jiuer speaks at a seminar marking the 100th birth anniversary of Richard Scarry on May 12 in Beijing. [Photo courtesy of Dandelion Children's Book House]

Huck Scarry (L), son of the legendary Richard Scarry, speaks at the opening ceremony of an exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]

An exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, opened on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]

An exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, opened on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]

An exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, opened on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]

An exhibition on the first editions of Richard Scarry's works, his family photos and memorabilia, letters and documents in his creation, opened on May 11 at Beijing's Yuecheng Center Space 3. [Photo by Zhang Junmian/China.org.cn]