Book Talk, Overheard

Curious Fifi?

Yesterday the New York Times published an article "How Curious George Escaped the Nazis," about H.A. and Margret Rey, George's creators. The Reys' harrowing flight from Europe is the subject of a new children's book by Louise Borden.

The Journey That Saved Curious George, illustrated by Allan Drummond,  is published by Houghton Mifflin, who issued the original Curious George in 1941.

As part of her research, Louise Borden used the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection, at the University of Southern Mississippi, which houses the Reys' entire literary archive.

In his early French years, Curious George was called Curious Fifi. It just doesn't have the same ring to it. (Yay for editors!)  The Times reporter Dinitia Smith writes,

Curious George is every 2-year-old sticking his finger into the light socket, pouring milk onto the floor to watch it pool, creating chaos everywhere. One reason the mischievous monkey is such a popular children's book character is that he makes 4- to 6-year-olds feel superior: fond memories, but we've given all that up now.

Agreed. Another part of George's appeal is that he always takes a risk, he always  gets in trouble, and he always saves the day.  A lot of kids much older than 2  can relate to his compulsive curiosity, too.


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