The Original Curious George
Publication Date: October 1998
List Price: $25.00*
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On June 14, 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled Paris as the German army invaded the city. Escaping on bicycles, they took only winter coats and four picture books strapped to the racks. Among those books were the watercolors and a rough text for Fifi, later known to the world as Curious George. However, when Curious George was actually published in the United States in 1941, these original watercolors were not used for the printing. Hans Rey was required by his editor to redraw the entire book, creating preseparated art, so that costs would be minimal. The Reys retained the original art and would, on rare occasion, treat carefully chosen friends and collectors to George as he was first envisioned in Paris those many years ago. During their lifetimes they parted with only five pieces of the extraordinary art. For this edition, the original Curious George drawings have been retrieved and reassembled, using modern reproductive techniques.
The Reys were born in Hamburg, Germany. Hans Augusto Rey (1898-1977) met his wife-to-be, Margret (1906-1996), at a party in her father's home in Germany; when he first caught a glimpse of her, she was sliding down the banister. In their twenties and thirties they lived in Paris and in Rio de Janeiro, where Hans sold bathtubs in villages along the Amazon River. Eventually Cambridge, Massachusetts, became the Reys' home and community. Throughout their lives the Reys created many lively books together, including SPOTTY, PRETZEL, and lift-the-flap books such as HOW DO YOU GET THERE? The manuscript of the first Curious George books was one of the few items the Reys carried with them on their bicycles when they escaped from Paris in 1940. Eventually, they made their way to the United States, and CURIOUS GEORGE was published in 1941. Their incorrigible little monkey has become an American icon, selling millions of books and capturing the hearts of readers everywhere. CURIOUS GEORGE has been published in many languages, including French, German, Japanese, Afrikaans, and Norwegian. Additional Curious George books followed, as well as such other favorites as CECILY G. AND THE NINE MONKEYS and FIND THE CONSTELLATIONS.
Leonard S. Marcus is one of the world's leading writers about children's books and the people who create them. His own award-winning books include "Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing; Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom; Minders of Make Believe; "and "The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth." He lives in Brooklyn, New York.