Monday, October 1, 2012

Parenting is one of the most difficult things to do. There is no school you can attend and no degree you can acquire. So, how do we learn how to keep the kids in line without loosing our tempers and regretting something we want to do but wouldn’t dare do? I learned how to keep wild kids in line through books. Reading fun books with the kids like Curious George. Kids are always mischievous and can get into everything. The key is to be able to control them so they don’t get themselves into too much trouble.
We can go as far back as September 16, 1898 one hundred fourteen years ago when some people realized that parents needed help. It was the birthday in Hamburg ,Germany of H.A. Rey who is the artist that created the monkey known as Curious George and his friend the man who wore the big yellow hat. It is an odd combination of friends but it simply worked for generations of parents and children to see how to deal with mischievous situations.
You can read aloud, “This is George. He was a good little monkey but he was always curious.” as you make your little one say curious with you as you look at the illustration of the monkey standing on a chair to get into the pasta pot on the stove with your child. Not a very safe thing to do. So, through reading this book together your little one’s mind will learn that it is not safe to stand on chairs. Thus, saving you the time and wrong thing of yelling at your child to get off that chair.
While living in Paris in 1940, Ray and his wife Margaret were forced to flee the German Invasion by bicycle carrying with them the drawings of their first book for children. They eventually brought their book to New York and published it the very next year. Six other books followed. Curious George Gets a Medal, Curious George Rides a Bike, Curious George Learns the Alphabet, Curious George Takes a Job, Curious George Goes To The Hospital and Curious George Flies a Kite.
I find it interesting that Rey chose subjects for the monkey to get involved in that are all subjects that should be part of every child’s life. So, your child immediately finds a kind of kinship with the monkey. Then I am off the hook and your child can immediately see a friend, George, that kind of goes through all the mischievous things your child is thinking of doing but instead George does it and you can see the outcome of George’s actions. They just don’t write books like these anymore. Books that are fun, with a purpose and a clear message.
Margaret finally got full co-author credit on Curious George Flies A Kite and on Curious George Goes To The Hospital. Soon children throughout the world came to enjoy the handful of books. Margaret confessed that her and her husband only wrote about what they liked to write about. She felt it was just a coincidence that the children liked the same thing. She didn’t realize that all the mishaps the monkey got into just got there first so our children could learn from George’s mistakes. The books are truly a learning experience.
They also took the time to please kids by visiting Boston’s Children’s Hospital in 1966 and drawing illustrations for the children in the hospital in which the experience was the inspiration for the seventh and final book of the series; Curious George Goes To The Hospital. There was also a Curious George TV series and in 2006 an animated movie with Will Farrell as the voice of the Man With The Big Yellow Hat. Curious George even made a cameo appearance in the 1994 film Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks where the main character says that it is his favorite book.

I suspect Curious George is the favorite book of many kids. It is a classic that even makes the adults feel warm and fuzzy while having the opportunity to read it again this time with the excuse that you are spending time with the children. Pick up a copy again anyway even if there are no children around anymore just in case a child comes along.

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