The Enduring Popularity of Curious George
smitten by Curious George? Whether youre seventy, forty
seven or four years old, the inquisitive little fellow who always
seems to get into one scrape after another has, in all likelihood,
captured your heart.
Perhaps his popularity lies in the predictability of his unpredictability.
You know that the second the man with the
yellow hat leaves the house, warning George to be careful, that
George is going to get into trouble.
And when George starts getting into trouble, he only digs himself
deeper. In Curious George Rides a Bike, he not only makes
boats out of all the newspapers he was supposed to deliver, he
also ruins his new bike and creates havoc at the circus when the
ostrich swallows his bugle.
But, in the end, George untangles himself and saves the day: He
rescues the baby bear that has escaped from the circus and is
applauded for his heroics. Similarly, in Curious George Goes
to the Hospital, his antics cause a terrible mess and disrupt
the mayors visit. But his mischievousness also causes sad
little Betsy to dissolve into laughter and enjoy herself for the
first time at the hospital.
Curious George puts a smile on your face, just like he did with
Betsy. He appeals to the desire of both the young and the young-at-heart
to break the rules just a little and, well, satisfy curiosity.
As Margret Rey observed, George can do what kids cant
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.
One cannot give enough credit to the Reys. H. A.s delightful
illustrations and Margrets clear and precise turn of phrase
may appear effortless, but thats only after they spent a
year laboring over each book to achieve that perfect look and
tone. Instead of relying on marketing surveys for book ideas,
H.A. and Margret Rey looked to the child within themselves that
they never seemed to have lost. I know what I liked as a
child, H.A. once said, and I dont do any book
that I, as a child, wouldnt have liked.