Curious George Saves The Day
April 27, 2011 — September 18, 2011
The Art of Margret and H. A. Rey
Curious George, the impish monkey protagonist of many adventures, may never have seen the light of day were it not for the determination and courage of his creators: illustrator H. A. Rey (1898–1977) and his wife, author and artist Margret Rey (1906–1996).
They were both born in Hamburg, Germany, to Jewish families and lived together in Paris from 1936 to 1940. Hours before the Nazis marched into the city in June 1940, the Reys fled on bicycles, carrying drawings for their children’s stories, including one about a mischievous monkey, then named Fifi.
Not only did they save their animal characters, but the Reys themselves were saved by their illustrations when authorities found them in their belongings. This may explain why saving the day after a narrow escape became the premise of most of their Curious George stories.
After their fateful escape from Paris and a four-month journey across France, Spain, Portugal, and Brazil, the couple settled in New York in the fall of 1940. In all, the Reys authored and illustrated more than 30 books, most of them for children, with seven of them starring Curious George.
Seventy years after the arrival of Curious George in America, the monkey’s antics have been translated into over a dozen languages to the delight of readers, young and old, around the world.