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.
The Reys were born in Hamburg, Germany. Hans Augusto Rey (1898-1977) met his wife-to-be, Margret (1906-1996), at a party in her father’s home in Germany; when he first caught a glimpse of her, she was sliding down the banister. In their twenties and thirties they lived in Paris and in Rio de Janeiro, where Hans sold bathtubs in villages along the Amazon River. Eventually Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the Reys’ home and community. Throughout their lives the Reys created many lively books together, including SPOTTY, PRETZEL, and lift-the-flap books such as HOW DO YOU GET THERE? The manuscript of 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. Their incorrigible little monkey has become an American icon, selling millions of books and capturing the hearts of readers everywhere. CURIOUS GEORGE has been published in many languages, including French, German, Japanese, Afrikaans, and Norwegian. Additional Curious George books followed, as well as such other favorites as CECILY G. AND THE NINE MONKEYS and FIND THE CONSTELLATIONS.