As a kid I loved Curious George and nothing’s really changed about that, despite a slew of less-than-stellar books published after the passing of H.A. Rey in 1977. There was a particular series done in the late 80’s, early 90’s — cheap 8″ x 8″ books based on grainy filmstrips — that was especially loathsome. I hated to see them monkey around so with my literary hero.
Best to stick with the seven “Original Adventures” produced during the lifetime of Hans Augusto Rey in partnership with his wife, Margret: Curious George (1941), Curious George Takes a Job (1947 ), Curious George Rides a Bike (1952), Curious George Gets a Medal (1957), Curious George Flies a Kite (1958), Curious George Learns the Alphabet (1963), and Curious George Goes to the Hospital (1966). After those titles, the quality slips badly. It’s just not Curious George anymore.
Here’s the man, H.A. Rey himself. And friends.
But I digress. My great pal Craig Walker, a late, beloved editor at Scholastic, once explained to me the appeal of Curious George in this way, and I’m paraphrasing:
“No matter what mistakes George makes, no matter how much trouble he gets into, at the end there’s always the Man with the Yellow Hat who forgives him, who loves him, who makes it all okay. Kids respond to that, and I think that’s part of the reason why those books are so popular.”
Isn’t that what a father is supposed to be? The safe place you can always come back to, the place where — no matter what — you’ll always be loved?
In related news, don’t miss the Curious George Campaign (click here for more details):
The Library partnered with the Ad Council, Universal Partnerships & Licensing and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company to develop public service announcements featuring the iconic characters from the Curious George series to encourage parents to read with their children. The television, print and outdoor PSAs feature George and his best friend and mentor, “The Man in the Yellow Hat” reading books together asking parents to “Read to your child today and inspire a lifelong love of reading.”
NOTE: The trouble with two blogs is sometimes a given post could sit snugly in either location. I put this one here for two reasons: 1) Right now, more eyes land here; and 2) I’m trying to keep “James Preller,” the personal stuff, out of Fathers Read, or at least on the fringes. Basically, I say less over there, and want the pictures to speak for themselves. But by all means, please swing by and check it out. I’m proud of what’s up there, and grateful for the support it’s gotten from folks both famous and far-flung.
As always when it comes to Curious George, lets try to stay legal, shall we, because heaven forfend: