Honor Richard Scarry with Graphic Novel-Style Picture Books

Children's author Richard Scarry was born a hundred years ago, on June 5, 1919. The busy pages of Scarry’s picture books overflow with animals at work. He drew the reader’s eye through each page by using long train tracks or curving streets. He used rectangular store fronts, houses and even lines between sand, dirt and grass, like comic panels. Celebrate Richard Scarry by reading other picture books that use this fun, colorful graphic novel-style storytelling.

Maurice Sendak’s classic Where the Wild Things Are begins with small panels that slowly expand to overflow the page. Other books like Some Swell Pup and In the Night Kitchen have fully paneled pages and lots of Scarry-esque item labels.


Raúl Gonzalez packs the pages and panels in ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market with animal characters, street signs and decorations that make the Mercado feel bright and alive.

In Aaron Becker’s Journey trilogy, two children with magic crayons draw their way through a fantasy world full of traps and treasures. Lines of crayon and fantastic cityscapes direct the reader’s eye.

Bill Thomson places comic panels over larger images to focus on important details. The children in Chalk, The Typewriter and Fossil find magic items that bring ancient or unheard of things to life—like dinosaurs and giant buckets of ice cream.


Andrea Tsurumi also combines full-page illustrations with small comic panels to create exciting action sequences, like when Lola runs from her mess in Accident or when Crab speedily bakes a cake in Crab Cake.

Thao Lam doesn’t draw the comic panels in her books—she makes them out of gorgeously textured paper collages! Skunk on A String follows a skunk on an unexpected journey into the sky, and Wallpaper introduces a shy girl who finds a friend in her bedroom wallpaper.

Do you have a favorite graphic novel-style picture book?

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Chicago Public Library