Sunday, January 22, 2006
The Journey That Saved Curious George, the True Wartime Escape of Marget and H. A. Rey
Borden, Louise. 2005. THE JOURNEY THAT SAVED CURIOUS GEORGE, THE TRUE WARTIME ESCAPE OF MARGRET AND H.A. REY. Ill. By Allan Drummond. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0618339248 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]
Using a combination of photographs, personal documents, and original illustrations, Louise Borden tells the story of Margret and H.A. Rey’s tumultuous escape from Nazi occupied Europe during World War II. The book is a visual feast; with each page featuring the Reys’ own original Curious George and Whiteblack the Penguin illustrations alongside wartime photographs or copies of original passports and documents used by the Reys on their journey. The simple chronological style introduces readers to the two artists in 1906, when H.A. turned eight, and Margret was born, follows them during the years they spend in South America, on their fateful bicycle journey out of wartime Europe, and into the New York harbor in 1940. “That hot June afternoon, H.A. Rey, the artist, became a bicycle maker. The biggest adventure of his life was about the begin….”
Allan Drummond’s colorful, dynamic illustrations follow the Reys bicycling out of Paris, traveling through Spain and Portugal, and sailing to Brazil and finally on to New York. Verse style text is appropriate for young and old readers alike, and the war is acknowledged in a matter of fact way. “In 1939, Hitler’s Germany was not a safe place for Jewish people to live. Hans and Margret worried about old friends still living in Hamburg.” Borden includes an epilogue about the Reys’ life in New York and the success of Curious George, which went on to sell a phenomenal 27 million copies.
Have readers trace the Rey’s journey on a map and calculate the distance they traveled to escape from war-torn Europe. Have readers choose their favorite Curious George title and read it aloud, draw a picture based on the book, or create a new adventure for the curious monkey.
Other books by Borden:
FLY HIGH!: THE STORY OF BESSIE COLEMAN. ISBN 0689824572
SEA CLOCKS: THE STORY OF LONGITUDE. ISBN 06898452163
SLEDS ON BOSTON COMMON. ISBN 0689828128
THE GREATEST SKATING RACE. ISBN 0689845022
By Tammy Korns