Saturday, 3 May 2014

Curious George

I got The Complete Adventures of Curious George two years ago after a lot of deliberation. It's over €22 after all. (Although it looks like now there is an edition that's almost identical for a few euros cheaper.) But its a keeper. In this massive hardback there are seven Curious George stories all written by the original creators of the monkey. (the character lives on but is now written and drawn by others.)

The first draft of the first Curious George story, (he was originally called Fifi) was written in Paris and left the city strapped on the back of a bicycle just hours before the Nazis arrived in June 1940. Margret and H.A. Rey, both Jewish had been living in the French capital and made it to the States through Spain, Portugal and Brazil. In Autumn 1941 it was published in America and in 1942 it was published in England. Although in the U.K. it was titled Zozo because the King at the time was called George(the one in The Kings Speech whose brother had gone off with Wally Simpson) and "curious" then meant homosexual. Written when it was and read now, there are aspects of the stories (there are six in this volume) which aren't terribly politically correct - capturing George for one, and quite a bit of pipe smoking, but who cares, these are great stories. And the illustrations - well here they are, in all their wonderful colours. They are fantastic.

Here is George after curiosity about the sea got the better of him.
 Where did he go?

 And here he is arriving in America, delighted with himself.
 Here he is flying a kite,
 and getting a pet bunny,
 being searched for in the Zoo,
 heading off to space in a rocket,
 going fishing,
 and helping in a hospital.

At first, for my then two year old, I had to paraphrase the stories as there are six or so lines per page, but now at nearly four, I can read them as is. He loves the book and I'm reckoning we will have at least two more years reading it. This anniversary edition has all the information about the authors and a few background details about the stories. If your into all that, which clearly I am, its fascinating. 


  1. So interesting about the beginnings of Curious George! I love these illustrations too.

    1. I know, the background story is amazing. There's some art H.A. did as a child too. Its fantastic, as you can imagine.