Monday, August 19, 2019

What's Old Is New! Curious George (75th Anniversary Edition) by H. A. Rey

He's BACK!

Of course, he's never been away. Curious George has been a star in the panoply of children's book characters right up there with the Little Engine That Could, Little Toot, The Little House, Max, and Peter Rabbit. The original books created in mid-twentieth century by H.A. and Margret Ray have already been loved to tatters by three generations of young hands, and spin-off easy readers and television series have celebrated that too curious little monkey for decades.

But a seventy-fifth anniversary of a story book classic that has never lost its charm is a big deal. And although the cover of this celebratory edition, Curious George: 75th Anniversary Edition (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019) has been given a glossy blue ribbon banner and some shiny new lettering, and although the Times New Roman font seems a bit larger and more crisp and the pictures brighter, it's George who is still the center of the story--George, for whom each new surprise is accompanied with a big smile, George whose curiosity leads him into big adventures and who emerges a bit wiser, but no less curious--George is the star!

Author-illustrator H. A. Rey's illustrations, set in vignettes, spot-art style, against bright white pages, tell the classic story of an irrepressible, naughty little monkey whose curiosity takes him into many situations. George's yen to try dialing the telephone leads him into the custody of fat fireman and the skinny fireman and on to a high-flying balloon flight over the big city. Although his inquisitiveness gets George into some unwonted escapades, he's a good model for young readers, one who approaches life and learning with an open and infectious joie de vivre.

The houses looked like toy houses
and the people like dolls.
George was frightened.
He held on very tight.

It's a lucky kid who gets to see a copy of this classic story that hasn't already been read hundreds of times, and this sparkling new edition comes with a link to an audiobook reading of the story by actor John Krasinski. But it doesn't take a famous reader to make Curious George come alive, thanks to the author H.A. Ray's perfectly paced storytelling. And with the magic of George, young listeners may soon turn into readers, sharing the story themselves with others.

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