Richard Scarry's Busytown can be a bewildering place, full of vaguely continental anthropomorphic beasties doing all sorts of things - driving vegetable shaped cars, solving inoffensive crimes, going to school, just...well, just being busy. The quaint, quirky illustrations are charming and endlessly creative, and very familiar to anyone with children. Our boys learned many words from the big books of cars and buildings and tools and jobs and other Busytown canon. Nothing like a grinning family of pigs in a station wagon shaped like a pencil to make learning fun. Where's Goldbug?
I never really cared much about Huckle the cat, but his friend Lowly Worm was always the best part of Scarry's bustling portfolio. Of all the upright animal protagonists, Lowly was the most improbable and charismatic. In his rakish chapeau, bowtie and single sneaker, Lowly was always smiling despite the bizarre situations he would find himself in. He was a remarkably competent annelid, driving his apple car with no discernable hands, and doing all manner of other things that the absence of any prehensile appendages might make challenging. Lowly never complained, even wearing his humble invertebrate status as a badge of honor. Good for you, Lowly. Keep reaching for that rainbow.