Since 1941, children have known and loved the mischievous little monkey in Curious George. When a book has been popular that long, it deserves special treatment, and that is just what this children's favorite receives in The Original Curious George. This Collector's Edition includes the story of Margret and H.A. (Hans Augusto) Rey's creation of the book in a splendid introduction by Leonard S. Marcus and what a story it is. The Reys, German Jews who had met and married in Brazil, were living in Paris in June 1940. They managed to flee the city on bicycles with four picture books and little else just prior to the German occupation. They crossed the French border into Spain, took a train to Lisbon, sailed to Brazil, and made their way to the U.S. by October. Soon they had negotiated a contract for not just one book, but four, with the children's editor at Houghton Mifflin, and Curious George was given birth the following year.
All but one of H.A. Rey's original watercolors are reproduced in this new edition. They have been re-assembled so readers can see George in his first incarnation. Of interest to those who know children's art and book production, the book portrays exactly the same slapstick adventures of a naughty little monkey which have delighted children for 57 years. This 64-page edition also includes an interesting biographical note on the Reys drawn from an essay Margret wrote in August 1994, before her death in 1996. As a child, H.A. Rey lived close to the famous Hagenbeck Zoo in Hamburg, Germany, and spent much of his time there. From the time he was two years old, he drew animals. He also learned to imitate animal sounds, a talent he used in the U.S. promoting his children's books. Both the Reys loved animals and owned everything from alligators to newts. Readers may spot their favorite cocker spaniel in many of their books.
Houghton Mifflin is giving Curious George new life in a variety of other books and cassettes. He will delight young children for years to come. He's a curious animal and there's lots to explore.