Chipmunk's ABC - Thao Lam
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Chipmunk’s ABC

Chipmunk’s ABC

Chipmunk’s ABC

As seniors in high school we got to go camping for a couple of days as a class field trip. It was an attempt to recreate the trips taken by the Group of Seven, a group of Canadian landscape painters who spent days in the wilderness drawing and searching for inspiration.

Since I had never been beyond the city’s border, this was my first camping trip. My childhood was spent in the city and the suburbs, so anything other than a pigeon or a squirrel was a wild animal. I spent the first day in the wilderness running away from chipmunks (and there were a lot of them). Keep reading…

Chipmunk’s ABC written by Roberta Miller and illustrated by Richard Scarry has no storyline; it is just made up of random scenes. The main character is a chipmunk who goes around doing all sorts of activities in alphabetical order. Each activity is written as a simple sentence that teaches the alphabet.

Though the style is retro, the illustrations still captivate audiences. The artworks are bright and saturated in colour. There are lots of cute fuzzy animals scurrying about. All of the characters in Richard Scarry’s books are animals with no special ethnic traits, which young readers from all over the world can relate to. I am not sure if this was Scarry’s master plan or if it was a happy coincidence but his use of animals allow his stories to cross cultural boundaries; Richard Scarry’s books has been translated into several different languages. The use of animals gives children the freedom to use their imagination and believe in the world that Richard Scarry has created. Anything is possible if a donkey can serve ice cream (I is for ice cream).

Chipmunk’s ABC, a children’s book review by Thao Lam

Author Roberta Miller

Sadly, Roberta Miller’s name was bumped off the cover of Chipmunk’s ABC giving the impression that the book was written and illustrated by Richard Scarry. It was probably a marketing decision since Richard Scarry name would bring in more sales but it was a terribly unfair decision. Roberta Miller deserves to be credited for her work even though her name might have not been as well known. There was not much information on Roberta Miller. All I was able to find out was that she was an editorial director at Golden Press and publisher of the Sesame Street Magazine. If anyone out there has any info, please share.


Illustrator Richard Scarry

(June 5th, 1919 to April 30th, 1994)

Richard Scarry was born in Boston in 1919. He graduated from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and was later drafted into the US Army during World War II. He was sent to North Africa, where he worked in many different roles. Scarry art directed, illustrated, edited, and wrote for the Morale Services Section of Allied Forces Headquarters. After returning from the war he worked for various magazines and started pursuing his career as an illustrator.

His big break came in 1963 when Richard Scarry’s Best World Book Ever was published. The large-format book with more than 1 400 objects identified with labels, sold seven million copies in twelve years.

In 1968, Scarry moved his family to Lausanne, Switzerland. There he lived and worked until his passing on April 30th, 1994. His son Richard Jr. followed in his footsteps and carried on the creative tradition.


Publisher Golden Books (August 2, 1994)

ISBN-10 030702024X

SBN-13 978-0307020246