I thought that I was well-traveled in the Curious George universe, given that he’s one of my kids’ favorite characters. I have seen the TV episodes more times than I care to admit, as well as the movies, and the handful of books we’ve got are bedtime favorites. But when I requested the original storybook from the library, I was more than a little surprised by what I found.
It begins much like its modern sequels, establishing that George is a monkey who is always very curious. It looks like George is having a pretty fun time in Africa, before he’s tricked and stuffed into a sack by the man in the yellow hat.
He is soon introduced to the joys of tobacco.
He is later chased and caught by angry firefighters after mistakenly telephoning them, and then he’s thrown in prison. Notice the illustration of poor George being taken away. It’s the same illustration as on the cover, except on the book cover he is smiling. Also, the thin fireman looks a little too pleased with himself.
Luckily, George is able to break out of his prison cell and make a daring escape.
In the end, he is found by the man in the yellow hat, but he is then dropped off at a zoo, not taken home to be the ever-curious, troublemaking, lovable pet that my kids know and love. It’s kind of amazing that from this beginning, Curious George has become a fixture of childhood. He’s arguably a lot cooler than he lets on.
Posted by Mallory on April 1, 2017