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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Educational ValueEach section is a simple, fun procedural on a different job or subject, showing how the work is done, why, and who benefits from it. It's a fantastic book for children learning to follow steps and make connections.
The book declares that everyone is a worker and asks young readers: "What do YOU do? Are you a good helper?" The sections celebrate teams working together and show how diverse jobs are connected to one another and the community.
Positive Role Models
The workers in Busytown are all smiling, and their work is focused on helping residents -- such as delivering the mail, putting out fires, and smoothing bumpy roads. The story even encourages children to be good helpers themselves and highlights teamwork.
Violence & Scariness
Firefighters save a calm and unconcerned child from a house fire, chopping through the playroom door with an ax. Two cars collide as they brake at a train crossing. A small fishing boat sinks in stormy weather, but the crew is rescued.
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Parents Need to KnowParents need to know that Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? offers 11 short sections (or mini-chapters) packed with details illuminating different types of different jobs and, importanly, how workers in different fields rely on one another to do their work, care for their families, and support their community. The book's a bit outdated: Many jobs have been transformed by technology, and the gender stereotyping is antiquated (in Busytown circa 1968, most jobs are held by men, and one mom is rewarded with a new dress for taking such good care of the house). Several sections in the original book, including one about a stay-at-home mom and another on a coal plant, are omitted from the abridged version.
Is It Any Good?
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.