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Curious George still as popular as ever

curious-george-still-as-popular-as-ever-200Curious George came to us almost by accident. His creators, H.A. and Margret Rey, were living in Montamarte, France when they began doing sketches of a giraffe for a French newspaper. The publishers liked the original drawings so much they asked them to work on a children’s book. The result was Cecily G and the 9 Monkeys, and it was here that we saw Curious George for the first time. Curious little monkey

After Cecily G and the 9 Monkeys was published, the Reys decided that Curious George deserved a book of his own, so they began work on a manuscript that featured the lovable and exceedingly curious little monkey. But the late 1930s and early 40s were a tumultuous time in Europe, and before the new manuscript could be published, the Reys—both German Jews—found themselves in a horrible situation. Hitler and his Nazi party were tearing through Europe, and they were poised to take control of the city. Knowing that they must escape before the Nazis took power, Hans cobbled together two bicycles out of spare parts. Early in the morning of June 14, 1940, the Reys set off on their bicycles. They brought very little with them on their pre-dawn flight, only warm coats, a bit of food, and five manuscripts, one of which was Curious George.

The Nazis entered Paris just hours later, but the Reys were already on their way. They rode their makeshift bicycles for four long days until reaching the French-Spanish border, where they sold them for train fare to Lisbon. From there they made their way to Brazil and on to New York City, where they began a whole new life as children’s book authors.

Curious George was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941, and for 60 years he has been capturing the hearts and minds of readers throughout the world. All the Curious George books, including the seven original stories by Margret and Hans, have sold over 25 million copies. So popular that his original story has never been out of print, George has become one of the most beloved and most recognizable characters from children’s literature. His adventures have been translated into many languages, including Japanese, French, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Swedish, German, Chinese, Danish, and Norwegian.

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