Curious George: Every Story Has a Beginning (Part 2)
May 7, 2012 Comments Off on Curious George: Every Story Has a Beginning (Part 2)
A continuation of yesterday’s post…
H.A. Rey, the German-born creator of Curious George more than 100 years ago, was a master of episodic storytelling, and his original books possess a level of wit, ingenuity, and “meatiness” that the derivative stories published in the last 10 years don’t quite match, even if the illustrations give them a very close look and feel (I’m referring to the stories included in such newer anthologies as A Treasury of Curious George).
Every story has a beginning, and many don’t know that H.A. Rey’s very first book about Curious George was titled Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys (Ages 2.5-5). It’s a story about how George, still living in Africa with his brothers and sisters, came to live with (and befriend) a lonely giraffe named Cecily G. (who, incidentally, bears a striking similarity to the “Sophie the Giraffe” rattle that’s become something of a fashion accessory to today’s urban baby set). It turns out that when you’re a monkey, playing with a giraffe affords all kinds of unusual delights: you can ski down her neck, parachute off her head with an umbrella, and even sail on her back.
Curious George, Alter Ego (Part 1)
May 6, 2012 § 1 Comment
When JP was two, I read him his first Curious George book (Curious George Goes to the Hospital, by Margret & H.A. Rey). Two and a half years later, still not a day goes by that we’re not reading about him, watching him on TV, or singing about him (Oh, you’re not familiar with the Curious George songs, the ones my husband and I are forced to make up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT before JP will go to sleep?).
My mother-in-law is a bit troubled that my son has chosen as his hero in life a monkey who spends a lot of time getting into a lot of trouble; she seems to think perhaps there are better role models than ones who can manage to knock over a bottle of ink, flood the house, release a herd of pigs, and knock over an entire dinosaur exhibit at a museum—all in a single day (Curious George Gets a Medal). But children are rarely that literal, and I like to think that it’s not George’s actions that inspire JP (though he laughs hysterically at them) but rather the motivation behind those actions: his insatiable, uncontainable curiosity. I might even claim that Curious George is a kind of Alter Ego for my son–and for scores of other boys and girls as well (I too was obsessed with him as a little girl).