Curious about Curious George? You should be.

Title: The Journey that Saved Curious George
Author: Louise Borden
Illustrator: Allan Drummond
Rating: 8.5
Readability: 8
Source:
Raincoast Books for review

Description from Goodreads:

In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled their Paris home as the German army advanced. They began their harrowing journey on bicycles, pedaling to Southern France with children’s book manuscripts among their few possessions.

Louise Borden combed primary resources, including Hans Rey’s pocket diaries, to tell this dramatic true story. Archival materials introduce readers to the world of Hans and Margret Rey while Allan Drummond dramatically and colorfully illustrates their wartime trek to a new home.

Follow the Rey’s amazing story in this unique large format book that resembles a travel journal and includes full-color illustrations, original photos, actual ticket stubs and more. A perfect book for Curious George fans of all ages.

What I Thought:

A completely fascinating look at the adventure Margret and Hans Rey embarked on during one of the darkest periods in Europe’s history.

This book is wonderfully illustrated to draw curious young readers in, and has more personality than a monkey could shake a banana at. The slightly suspect French customs official selling their bikes for a tidy profit was probably my favourite picture. The numerous original documents add a great deal of authenticity to the book and are also a great learning tool as children try and read them for themselves.

I loved the part where Margret and Hans attempt to ride the one bike left in the shop in Paris – a tandem. Having ridden one and been completely terrified the entire time, I can definitely appreciate Margret’s apprehension about fleeing the Nazis on one!

The mentions of the war are perfect for kids in lower grades as they give information without too much detail. It was quite educational and enjoyable at the same time – not often an easy feat!

The scene of Margret and Hans steaming into New York and passing the Statue of Liberty is a great reminder of the need to welcome refugees and those in need.

We loved reading this book and learning more about George and his “parents”!

Extras:

I reviewed the 75th anniversary edition of their flagship George book, Curious George, last year. Check it out!

TL;DR:

Unlike so much of the potential that was lost during the war, Curious George made a daring escape out of the hands of the Nazis and into our hearts.