Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Happy Birthday Greetings H. A. Rey

My favorite Curious George book is "Curious George Goes to the Hospital."


 The story line is that George eats a puzzle piece thinking it's candy. The Man in the Yellow Hat rushes him to the hospital. 


When they get to the hospital it details all the things a child might encounter. Towards the end of the book some excitement occurs when George commandeers a go-cart and crashes it into a dining cart. This book was written in 1966 so many of the things talked about in the hospital have changed in terms of technology but still a fun story to share with a child who might be making a hospital visit. 

Today is the birthday of the creator of Curious George, H.A. Rey, born Hans Augusto Reyersbach in Hamburg, Germany (1898). 
As a kid, Rey spent a lot of time at the zoo, drawing the animals. In 1939, he and his wife, Margret, both German Jews, were living in Paris when World War II began. They were at work on a new book featuring one of Hans' animal drawings: a mischievous monkey named Fifi. "It seems ridiculous to be thinking about children's books," Rey wrote to a friend. "But life goes on, the editors edit, the artists draw, even during wartime." By June 1940, the Nazi invasion was imminent, so Hans built two bicycles out of spare parts, and the Reys gathered whatever they could carry, including the collection of monkey sketches for the book manuscript. They fled Paris two days before the Nazis invaded, and rode 75 miles in three days, which then turned into a four-month journey that took them to Lisbon, then Rio de Janeiro, and finally landing in New York.
The first book, "Curious George"as the monkey was now called, was published in the United States in 1941. It was an instant success about the adventures of a mischievous monkey and his friend with the yellow hat. The Reys went on to write eight more adventure tales of Curious George. The mischievous monkey become an international sensation.
Margret Rey explained the little monkey's success this way: "George can do what kids can't do. He can paint a room from the inside. He can hang from a kite in the sky. He can let the animals out of their pens on the farm. He can do all these naughty things that kids would like to do." H.A. Rey's explanation was even simpler: "I know what I liked as a child, and I don't do any book that I, as a child, wouldn't have liked."
Hans Rey was also an astronomy enthusiast, and in addition to the beloved Curious George books, he wrote "The Stars: A New Way to See Them" published in 1952. The book includes constellation diagrams with cartoon outlines to make them easier to remember and recognize. His new diagrams were widely adopted by other astronomical texts, and the book is regularly reissued as we learn more accurate information about our galaxy. Both Hans and his wife were prolific writers and wrote many other books besides the Curious George books.
The Reys relocated to Cambridge Mass in the late 60’s. Hans died in 1979 and his wife Margret died in 1996. There's even a bookstore called Curious George and Friends located in Harvard Square.
How much can you remember about Curious George books?
1. In the first adventure Curious George ends up flying through the air by what means?
a. a bunch of balloons
b. a glider
c. a magic carpet
d. wings
2. Where does the man in the yellow hat find Curious George?
a. at the zoo
b. at a pet store
c. in a jungle
d. in a restaurant

3. In the book "Curious George Rides A Bike" what does George do with the newspaper he is supposed to deliver?
a. make paper airplanes
b. make paper boats
c. drop them in a puddle
d. read them

Answers: bunch of balloons, jungle, paper boats...so how did you do?

Do you have a favorite Curious George book?

No comments:

Post a Comment