30 September 2006

Curious George Becomes a Senior Citizen

Today the Boston Public Library celebrated Curious George's sixty-fifth birthday, no doubt encouraged by his publisher, Houghton-Mifflin.

A while back I treated myself to the omnibus edition of the Curious George books--the original picture books by H.A. and Margret Rey. Nothing else has ever been so powerful at making me feel four years old again.

I was able to note some of my responses to the books. I found I preferred the Reys' later stories, when George was more of an active toddler and less of a jungle-loving monkey. My memory had amalgamated the two different hospital visits, and though I recalled many other episodes (i.e., page spreads) vividly, I didn't remember so clearly how they fit together. George's limited attention span means that any given story can go in practically any direction. So it almost was like reading those books for the first time.

George has a new TV show on PBS this season, following the style of the recent movie, but my favorite spin-offs are still low-tech. Louise Borden wrote The Journey That Saved Curious George about the Reys' journey to America ahead of the Nazi army. My friend Vern had the T-shirt of George after sniffing ether, which I recall prompting suspicious questions at toll booths. And finally, there's this "oddaptation" of the entire series by Gregory K. at GottaBook:

George is a monkey who’s always quite curious,
But if you did what he did your folks would be furious.
He complicates life, making messes quite frightful...
Yet things turn out fine in the end.
How delightful.

1 comment:

Greg Pincus said...

Thanks for the link. I still have all my (nearly falling apart) Curious George books from my childhood. I seem to remember reading them endlessly, but yeah... details have blurred together over time.