BOOK REVIEWS

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

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 79 user ratings
ISBN:0618339248
LANGUAGE:English

"A story about the escape of Margret and H. A. Rey, creators of the Curious George books, from Europe at the start of World War II. It is beautifully illustrated by Allan Drummond in the style of George and there are many historical photographs of the Reys and of wartime Europe. Charming may not be the right word since this is about war but this is a beautiful tribute to the Reys. I know for a fact that many little people may not have as much excitement in their reading lives if not for a "curious little monkey!" " said.

"I read the paperback version of this book, so there were no actual ticket stubs.
The story was exciting and unbelievably true! The author tells this story so that it is easily understandable to readers around Grades 4-6 who do not have much background knowledge about the history of WWII. Readers can easily understand what Margret and H.A. Rey were going through as the Germans got closer to Paris and they realized that they had to leave. The inclusion of primary sources makes this a bit of a mentor text for historical research, also.
A good nonfiction narrative for curious minds who loved Curious George!
" said.

"Generously peppered with photographs, illustrations, and maps, The Journey that Saved Curious George is perfectly paced nonfiction for its intended audience. Children will following Hans Augusto Reyersbach and Margarete Waldstein from childhood in Germany until they ultimately become Margret and H.A. Rey, the world famous creators of Curious George. This biography provides valuable information about the authors, but flows in a storybook form that keeps the reader’s attention. It includes interesting details about the Reys’ escape from Europe during World War II, as well as information about how the Curious George books were created and published. This is a great introduction to biography and nonfiction for younger readers.

Recommended ages--8 and up
" said.

"My friend Corinne has this knack for finding and reading the most interesting books (hi, Corinne! :) and that is how I found this one.  The title basically is it's own spoiler.  :)  As young newlywed artists, both Jews, they have no choice but to leave Paris as Hitler's regime makes its way into France.  Along with an enormous parade of humanity, they pedaled their bicycles, caught crowded trains, slept in barns along the countryside, all along their sights set on New York where they could finish publishing their work-in-progress, a children's picture book about a curious monkey.  The text is enhanced with photo-copies of their daily notes, purchases ledger, some of their original artwork, photographs and other interesting stuff. 

What I love that this book brought to me is a glimpse into what it might feel like to be a refugee, leaving behind your life and home in a hurry, choosing the most important possessions, assessing and withdrawing your money (if you have any) and having little idea how far -and where! - it will take you.

It is books like these that keep me reading.  Reaching for life lessons that I can't obtain on my own.
" said.

"I grabbed this book in September because I was introducing Ema Yamazaki's film at the Boulder Chautauqua, and was amazed by story's many turns - showing how close Curious George came to never happening. Engaging use of primary sources from the deGrummond library archive at Southern Mississippi gave the narrative an authentic historical biographic feel along with illustrations that bring the narrative forward on each spread. There is actually no full biography available as far as I can tell.
Drummond's illustration style was a perfect choice for this book. He used color schemes and a line-drawing style that are not too close to Rey's, not going for imitation, but still fitting recognizably within the domain of commercial magazine and advertising illustrations from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. I often complain about mismatches between the known works of cultural icons and the illustrators who get chosen for the project, so this one stands out.
Unfortunately, the illustrations have 1-1 correspondence on each page, adding largely a sense of tone and detail to what is told in the words. It would have been nice to see something complementary, where Drummond got to tell some of the story or use illustrations to predict the content on the next page turn - even one or two moments of this would have been nice!
" said.

"What an intriguing children's book about the wartime lives of Margret and H.A. Rey! This is a gem of discovery for young readers interested in World War II history, children's picture books, art, refugees, and/or Paris in the 1930s and 40s. Borden incorporates all kinds of primary sources, including H.A. Rey's own calendar notebooks, the couple's personal photographs, telegrams and letters from publishers and editors, and sketches and art from the works that would eventually become Curious George and Whiteblack the Penguin. Incredibly detailed and fascinating. The author goes out of her way to make it accessible for young readers, including activities at the end that encourage them to do their own research on a subject ("Become a Detective") and to create timelines and maps related to historical nonfiction. There is also a comprehensive bibliography of the Rey's works.

The illustrations by Allan Drummond are reminiscent of Rey's style, and there is even a painting that Rey made at age 8 which would clearly identify him to savvy readers as the illustrator of Curious George - his style was that distinct from an early age. I loved what a curious mind he had, putting together bicycles for himself and Margret from purchased spare parts, when there was no other transportation available for the refugees fleeing Paris as the Germans approached. The book also made me reflect on all that the Reys, and millions of others, left behind - as the author poignantly says, "So many questions without answers" (59). Like many, although they made it to safety early in the war, they never knew what became of many people they knew in Paris. Fortunately, they made it and were able to share their art and their curious little monkey with the world.
" said.

" I love this book. The illustrations are fun and true to the Rey style. Adventurously and playfully explains the Rey's escape from persecution in Europe for being Jewish. " said.

" Thanks to Donalyn Miller for this recommendation. A fascinating tale of how Margret and H.A. Rey had to flee Europe during WWII. A great deal of information packed into this book. " said.

June 2018 New Book:

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