Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margaret and H. A. Rey

genre: non-fiction children's book

The lovable Curious George is one of the first characters my daughter ever identified with when she was little - in fact, the first long picture book that antsy little girl ever sat through was Curious George Goes to the Hospital.  And George has a staple in my home ever since.

When I was at the Holocaust Memorial Museum recently, the bright colors of this book on the shelf caught my eye and I purchased it because I was, ahem, curious to know the story of the authors, which I had previously known nothing about.

Turns out, theirs is a pretty incredible story: a story of adventure and war, the realities of being a refugee and how two artists can make a living from a pen and some paints. From Brazil to France and Spain to Portugal, the journey of Curious George's creators is displayed in a vibrant and engaging format.  Lots of primary sources here - we see pictures of telegrams and diaries, original photographs as well as illustrations from their books.  This would be a great springboard book to talk with younger elementary school aged children about what it would be like to flee from war, in a way that is real but not incredibly frightening.  Margaret and H. A. had guts and it shows in their choices. It also really makes you think about how many amazing things our world DOESN'T have and can never know about because of all those who were unable to escape they way they did.

I really liked this short biographical story of two incredible people.

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