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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on 16 November 2009
Before I start, I want to make it clear that 'What do people do all day?" is one of my all time favourite books. As a child I adored it and my children now adore my very thumbed vintage (1975) edition so I was delighted to see it back in stock and ordered it as a christmas present for a friends wee girl. I am so disappointed. The pictures are thankfully the same, but the font is awful, the titles to the stories changed for the worst and worse even than that some of the original stories are GONE!!!! Where is building a house, Posting a letter, Bread and how it is made, Cotton and how we use it..... I know that times have changed but it has not stopped my children enjoying the original book. I have sourced a second hand copy and am seriously considering returning this book, only the fact that the illustrations that remain are still as good as ever is stopping me. Shame on you Harper Collins.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Having taken note of the previous warnings about missing stories, I orderd both this and and old second-hand copy.

The second hand copy is not as old as some referred to here (it is a 1977 UK edition - published by Collins), but here are the differences between the two:

1977 - Hard cover, approx 2 in taller and 1 in wider, serif font (like Times New Roman) for the 'story' text

2010 - Paperback, smaller - approx A4 size, sans serif font (a bit like Comic Sans, but with roman rather than script 'a') for the story text and also for the story titles.

There were no differences between the stories - both books had:

- (Untitled) Introduction to busytown
- Everyone is a worker
- Mothers's work is never done (I don't know if this is a UK-specific adaption, but throught the text of both 'Mummy' is used)
- A voyage on a ship
- Sergeant Murphy of the Busytown Police Department
- Firemen to the rescue
- A visit to the hospital
- The train trip
- Wood and how we use it
- Digging coal to make electricity work for us
- Building a new road
- Water

Overall, I still slightly prefer the old hard-copy style and its font. However, as I am hoping to give it as a gift and it is not missing any content I grew up with, I will be happy to give a fresh new paperback version.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on 20 March 2002
Like the other reviewers here I loved this book as a child and bought it again.
However, when I got the book I discovered that at least one third of the old stories are missing!
Caveat emptor!!!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2004
I enjoyed Richard Scarry books as a child and I am delighted that my two and a half year old son loves this book too. The pictures are colourful and eye-catching. Parents and children can enjoy it together, or there is enough going on so that a child can look at the pictures by himself. It is also very informative and I learnt new things about road-building too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 September 2012
Just to echo the other reviews about the missing stories. Firstly I think the best thing to do is just publish the entire book, unabridged, in its original form. Yes it is "out of date", yes it reflects the attitudes of the time it was written, of course it does! Buy a book written in the last 10 years if that's what you want. My kids love Richard Scarry for the same reasons I did 40+ years ago.

So the problem with this edition is the choice of stories that have been dropped, versus those that have made it. Luckily I still have my early 70s copy to compare to, held together with ageing cellotape. One has to wonder why these choices were made... to save money? To drop the "out of date" stuff?

So we lose: Building a House, the kids love the pics of the house as its built; Mailing a Letter holds their interest; The story of seeds and how they Grow- interesting again and not something that will go out of date! The Airplane Ride - the kids love this one; Cotton And How We Use It.. well- 1960s agriculture and technology but again great illustrations so does it matter? The kids love it! Finally Where bread comes From, once again great pictures, the exploded flour mill, the huge loaves of bread, just great.

But the following stay in.....
Everyone is a Worker - a worthy but dull moral about how we must all earn money to pay for stuff; Mother's work is never Done - 60s attitudes, and a brush salesman at the door? A visit to the Hospital - again dull, and with a tonsilectomy as the main plot!

Fortunately the rest of the book justifies the purchase, so ignore the comments and buy... unless you can find a proper version that contains ALL the stories! My original is 95 pages long and published by Collins....
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2011
This is a wonderful book, but for years the publishers have been tinkering with it, and not for the better.

So when you see this line in the description: "this classic has been refreshed to bring the world of Richard Scarry to a new generation of readers. " be aware that you are getting the cheapened-up bowdlerized edition.

They've reduced the original stories by about 1/3 (considering the purged ones too outdated or irrelevant to today I guess). Equally bad is that with every subsequent edition, they fiddle with the artwork and change the text to make it try to conform to modern standards of political correctness. (Essentially too many traditional gender roles were specified in the jobs of varied animals).

Come on....It's a 40+ year old book and to have the modern publisher mess with it amounts to simple vandalism, really. Please let the publisher know you'd like to see a "Classic Edition" published that is unmolested. There's plenty of market for it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2006
We picked up the 1968 edition of this book from a car boot sale some years ago for our boys, and our eldest (now 5) has read it fairly solidly ever since. He pores over the mining pictures (about the only children's book which includes mining), electricity generation and everything else. This has to be the perfect picture book to teach youngsters about the complexity of the world. Now we've been asked by our 5 year old to buy the new edition to replace a rapidly aging older copy!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 11 February 2012
I wasn't wild about these books when my little girl had this book for her 3rd birthday almost a year ago now. However they have grown on my and have definitely grown on my daughter - the Richard Scarry books she received are a hit! Until an hour ago, when Amazon parcel arrived, we had 2, 'Bedtime Stories' plus 'What do People Do all Day?' Though my daughter loves pink, baking and threading necklaces, I would not describe her as a 'girly' girl, preferring gymnastics, dens, trampolining and finding worms in the garden, she is going through a little phase right now at 3 and three quarters of wanting these books every night for her bedtime story. The books are good, with pages busy with quirky and detailed little spot colour illustrations which children like to scrutinse to see what comical mis-haps they can spot, though my husband gets a little irritated by the Americanisms like 'asphalt' for tar, 'faucet' for tap, and 'dumpcart' for refuse van, etc. I'm now in the habit of simply replacing the Americanism with the English term when I get to that word when reading aloud so that she understands.

'Bedtime Stories' in particular is a really handy book to take on a journey when you need to travel light, like on a Ryan Air trip, as it is so very small, thin and light (about 8"/20cm each way, and 15 pages long). It means that for the sake of carrying one book, you get 5 little stories to read:

~ Sergeant Murphy and the Banana Thief (you guessed it - that Gorilla Bananas)
~ Ma Pig's New Car (bit silly this one - Pa Pig is made out to be ridiculously absent minded accidentally repeatedly getting into the wrong vehicle on the way home until she ends up with a 'power shovel' - that's a digger to you and I)
~ Uncle Willy and the Pirates (thieving rats (pie-rats...) are foiled by Uncle Willy as they try to steal his home made pie)
~ The Unlucky Day (Just about everything that can go wrong for Mr Racoon does go wrong)

Today, I bought a handful of other Richard Scarry books as birthday gifts for a 4-year old boy's party later this afternoon. Would concur with another reviewer that the 'Funniest Storybook Ever', which has 11 stories in it, 5 of them are the identical 5 which feature in 'Bedtime Stories', though there are also 6 more, namely:
~ Talking Bread
~ Absent Minded Mr Rabbit
~ Sergeant Murphy and the Banana Thief
~ Speedboat Spike
~ Ma Pig's New Car
~ The Three Fishermen
~ The Accident
~ Please Move to the Back of the Bus
~ Uncle Willy and the Pirates
~ The Unlucky Day
~ Lowly Worm's Birthday - which is longer than the others and seems to be the grand finale!
So, actually this makes Funniest Storybook Ever a really good value buy, just be careful you don't unintentionally duplicate by buying Bedtime Stories though.

'Cars and Things that go' - many pages of lots of different types of vehicle, with their names beside them (some of those are Americanisms) - with a thinish storyline running through it - as this is a gift for someone else, have not sat down to read it with my daughter but I think it less likely she would enjoy it so much due to the lack of story to engage with. Little boys who love vehicles however (like today's Birthday Boy, probably will enjoy it). There are occasional quirky little drawings of crashed cars etc in it.

Also bought 'The Great Pie Robbery and Other Myseries' - this is for my daughter, am saving it for her birthday. A nice quality book. Glancing through, I think she will enjoy it - it is hardback (so heavier) and the stories are perhaps v slightly longer than usual - or maybe just a little more spaced out in the pages.

Finally, the one she already has (Birthday Boy is also going to receive) 'What People do all day, is also a very good book, looking at different professions, daugher really enjoys it, stories being:
~ Everyone is a worker
~ Mothers work is never done
~ Sergeant Murphy of the Busytown Police Department
~ Firemen to the Rescue
~ A visit to the hospital
~ The train trip
~ Wood and how we use it
~ Digging coal to make electricity work for us
~ Building a new road
~ Water

Apologies for the repetition, but I am going to post this review on the pages for all the books I have listed herein.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
My favourite book as a child! And now a favourite of my 5 year old son, who has severe autism. I suspected he might find that picture of the internal working of a ship as fascinating as I did, and indeed he does. I remember spending HOURS staring at it at the age of about 3.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Just like evryone else here, this was my favourite book as a child. It was the only thing I took with me when I had to spend a couple of nights in a hospital, and I used to stare at the page showing inside the cruise liner all night until I fell asleep.
The reason I'm buying it now is not because I have kids, but because I'm at that sad age when growing up properly begins and you begin to get nostalgic about EVERYTHING. cf. as well as this book, I've bought a video of the Beetlejuice cartoons, loads of Lego, and I've set up the old Mega Drive again.
Good times had by all, anyone who read this book as a child remembers every detail because there was so much to look at!
An all-time classic.
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