The best edition of the Best Word Book Ever


Best Word Book Ever - He comes promptly, originally uploaded by kokogiak

My wife and I recently scored a rare find at our local used book store: a good condition copy of Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever, 1963 edition. It was very important to me that we purchase this version of the book, and not the 1991 printing. In the new book, words like "stewardess" have been updated to their modern gender-neutral equivalents (i.e. "flight attendant"). The career fields have also been modernized, so for example, kids can no longer become cowboys when they grow up. Instead, they are presented with new exciting employment options like "judge" and "taxi driver."

None of those revisions bother me much. But some of the changes are not only unnecessary, they also replace the exciting and descriptive language in the original with neutered, generic phrases. Which of these books would you rather read?

While a gentleman jumps from a burning building into the safety of a rescue net, a brave hero climbs up a ladder to rescue the beautiful screaming lady.

or:

An unlabeled animal levitates in midair beside a firefighter and a "cat in danger."

By the way, the text is not the only thing that has been dumbed-down. In many places the art has been altered, removed, or replaced entirely. And yeah, the new drawings suck. There's a Flickr photo set illustrating the differences here.

1 comment:

Jhenn said...

Those are AWESOME. 2 posters are $200. and add $50 for 50 announcements. I am all about those!