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PreSchool-Grade 1-These two books take a familiar, favorite character and create an imitation of his curiosity, but without the Reys' usual spark and attention to detail. In Hot Air Balloon, George is playing with an anchor rope and the balloon takes off with him aboard. It blows quite close to the nose of George Washington at Mt. Rushmore where the monkey unwittingly rescues a worker and becomes a hero. He is rewarded with a helicopter ride around the monument. When Curious George Goes to a Movie, the man with the yellow hat leaves to get popcorn and George goes up to the projection booth where he startles the projectionist, who knocks the reels off the projector. While he untangles the film, George does shadow figures to amuse the audience and again becomes a hero. Both books read like anemic summaries of the original Curious George adventures, but with the lessons eliminated. It is disconcerting that this George never receives so much as a mention of the follies of his curiosity, but is immediately rewarded for a chance good deed, which happens as part of the cover-up for his naughtiness. Both the blandness and the mixed messages make these titles bad advertising for the real Curious George.
Nancy A. Gifford, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hans Augusto Rey was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1898. As a child, he spent much of his free time in that city's famous Hagenbeck Zoo drawing animals. After serving in the army during World War I, he married Margret Rey and they moved to Montmartre for four years. The manuscript for the first Curious George books was one of the few items the Reys carried with them on their bicycles when they escaped from Paris in 1940. Eventually, they made their way to the United States, and Curious George was published in 1941. Curious George has been published in numerous languages. And many, many Curious George books have followed.