The Journey That Saved Curious George

16 Dec

This weekend I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Louise Borden, Cincinnati author of several children’s books.  We had a wonderful chat about her research and writing.  I am so lucky to have met her.  She is an amazing author and I am sure you will love this book as much as I do.

The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey

Children’s Biography

Written by Louise Borden

Illustrated by Allan Drummond

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2005

Louise Borden writes this biography with passion for the Reys, German born Jews, who are caught in the mass exodus of Paris in 1940.  Her words allow even the youngest readers (appropriate for ages 8+) to feel the sense of urgency as the German army marches closer and closer to Paris, how many neighbors thought that Hans and Margaret might have been German spies, and how they had to gather all the necessary papers, visas, passports, tickets, and money for their exodus.  Through it all, she keeps the link to Curious George visible to the reader.  She describes how the Reys carried their manuscript and illustrations with them, even though they could carry very little with them as they biked and took trains through France, Spain, and Portugal.  She demonstrates how the Reys often escaped capture by simply showing officials the story and illustrations that would eventually become the first Curious George book.

Allan Drummond illustrates this story precisely.  Every detail is captured in his illustrations.  He too, stays true to the story of Curious George being sure to include  images of the yellow hat, the pipe, and of course George.  Scattered among the detailed illustrations are photos take by Hans and Margaret Rey, copies of letters to and from editors, and Hans Reys personal diary/expense log.

This is definitely a must-read for anyone who knows and loves Curious George, but especially for children (and adults) learning about World War II, the German occupation of France, and the exodus of thousands of Jewish citizens.

For more information about Louise Borden and Allan Drummond visit their websites.

5 Responses to “The Journey That Saved Curious George”

  1. Perfecting Motherhood December 18, 2013 at 1:31 AM #

    Wow, I had no idea this happened to them. It’s amazing how much they hung on to their little George to make sure he would come to life one day.


    • Juliana Lee December 18, 2013 at 8:01 AM #

      Yes, you can tell how passionate they were about their work. Of course, George helped to save their lives more than once along the journey also. Win-Win for them and Win for us!


  2. jheitman22 December 16, 2013 at 4:09 PM #

    Wow, Juliana, this book sounds fascinating! It’s always interesting to learn how favorite books come to be, but Curious George has an especially dramatic beginning!


    • Juliana Lee December 16, 2013 at 4:31 PM #

      I know! I’ve been reading the George series for years and never really thought about how it got started. I’m sure lots of other great books have great beginnings, but this one is especially remarkable.


      • Juliana Lee December 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM #

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