An Event for Those Curious About George

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Everyone’s favorite monkey will be at Barnes and Noble in Fashion Island tomorrow, March 19 at 1 p.m. Fans will be able to meet Curious George, listen to some of favorite Curious George stories and have their picture taken with him.

For the serious fan, “The Complete Adventures of Curious George” Deluxe Book and CD Gift Set is a hardbound book containing the original seven Curious George stories, a bonus photo album of the authors Margaret and H.A. Rey and five audio CDs.  The set is $35 and is available at the store.

Also, not to be missed is the amazing story behind the story.  In “The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey,” Louise Borden meticulously details the Reys’ ordeal from leaving Paris in 1940, just hours before the Nazis marched in to take over the city, until their safe arrival in New York.

The Reys fled Paris on bicycles that H.A. had himself built from used parts. For three days they rode with little more than the clothes on their backs. One of the only things they refused to leave behind was the manuscript for a children’s book they had been working on together. They held it carefully as their odyssey unfolded.

Once the Reys made it to the Spanish border, the couple sold their bikes for train tickets to Portugal, where they boarded a ship headed for Brazil and eventually New York. Shortly after arriving in New York City, they got a deal with Houghton Mifflin to publish their book and in 1941 “Curious George” became an instant success. The Reys wrote and illustrated six more Curious George Books together.

Other interesting facts are included in the book. Hans Augusto Rey, a Jewish man born in Hamburg, Germany in 1898, grew up close to the famous Hagenbeck Zoo. Hans spent hours at the zoo, drawing pictures of animals – foreshadowing a career that would include some of the most recognizable illustrations of animals in children’s literature.

Although a children’s book, the story is a fascinating read for adults, too.
Writing and illustrating were not the only passions the Reys shared. Both Margret and H.A. were outdoor enthusiasts who actively pursued gardening, hiking, and bicycling. H.A. was very interested in astronomy, and wrote two books on the subject; a children’s book called “,Stars, a New Way to See Them”, and a young adult book called “Find the Constellations.”

The Reys’ legacy of encouraging curiosity includes more than just their world famous books. Now, The Margret and H.A. Rey Center and Curious George Cottage in Waterville Valley, NH, supports learning in many areas. The center, much more than a destination for Curios George fans, includes an observatory and nature trail. The Curious George Cottage, the former summer home of the Reys, is dedicated to honoring their memory by providing educational and recreational programs for children, adults, and families.

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