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Children’s Book Authors: H.A. Rey and Margret Rey, Creators of "Curious George"

November 12, 2009
by findingDulcinea Staff
For countless kids, Curious George is a beloved character, and the minds behind the inquisitive monkey are similarly endearing. H.A. and Margret Rey, the well-traveled creators of Curious George, are as creative as they are fascinating. The couple endured the Nazi invasion, and moved around the world before settling down in the United States.

Origin of the 'Curious Little Monkey'

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Curious George, the well-known monkey, is something of a miracle. H.A. Rey, the creator of "Curious George," narrowly escaped the Nazis as he fled from Paris in 1940. He and his wife, Margret Rey, managed to flee the city on the eve of the Nazi invasion. Riding away on bicycles, they carried few possessions: among them, fortunately, was the original manuscript for the first story of "Curious George." A full biography of the couple, which includes details of their brief stay in Brazil, their eventual move to the United States and the sources of their artistic inspiration, is on the official Curious George Web site.

To find out more about the monkey, or to test your knowledge of Curious George, take the trivia quiz from Kidsreads.com.

Contemporary Monkey Business

Fortunately for Curious George fans, the monkey continues to have adventures, despite H.A. Rey's passing in 1977. Along with the plethora of Curious George toys, clothes and movies available, there are interactive options for fans. PBS' Curious George Entertainment Web site, for example, features games, video clips and printables for families to enjoy. Local broadcast schedules for the PBS show "Curious George" are also available.

Curious Like George

H.A. Rey was a curious man himself, involved in many different pursuits. In fact, "Curious George" was not the only book he wrote. One of Rey’s great interests was astronomy. He and Margret ultimately moved to New Hampshire from New York so that Rey could study the stars more clearly.

He also wrote "The Stars: A New Way to See Them," an introductory manual for recognizing constellations and appreciating the night sky. To discover what else the Reys worked on during their prolific career, view a complete overview courtesy of de Grummond, a children’s literature collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. An extensive biography as well as a full list of manuscripts, illustrations, drafts and prints of the Reys' work is available on the site.

The intellectual, naturalistic and artistic tendencies of H.A. and Margret Rey were deeply appreciated by the New Hampshire community in which they lived. The Margret and H.A. Rey Center and the Curious George Cottage “honors the legacy of Margret and H. A. Rey through activities that nurture the mind, body and spirit, and that encourage fellowship, community service and environmental stewardship.” The center features outdoor activities that promote sustainable living and creativity, and offers various programs and events throughout the year.
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