BOOK REVIEWS

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

UPDATE TIME: 2017-06-25 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 79 user ratings
ISBN:0618339248
LANGUAGE:English

"I bought this book for my school library a while ago but pulled it out to share with my second graders this past week. It's really a long read aloud but I was able to skip some of the text while showing all of the pictures and letting them hear the main parts of the story. This is really a beautiful book and one that is fun to pore over for all of the information in it. I'm still not sure if my students will like it as much as much as I do but I'll make sure it's on display and hope that some of them will pick it up. They did seem taken by the fact that if H.A. and Margret Rey had not taken the manuscript with them as they fled Paris we might never have heard of Curious George. They also thought it was pretty funny that the first name Hans Rey came up for his monkey was Fifi! Most of my second graders were not familiar with WW II or why you would have to escape the Germans if you were Jewish so we had some discussion on that as well. I do like this book and I'm glad I was able to share it with some of my students." said.

"This was the book that I read for my biography. This was a biography of Margret and H.A. Rey, the authors of Curious George. The first part of the book is titled two artists, and is the early lives of Margret and H.A., and then talks about how their romance was sparked in Brazil, and was where they found their love for monkeys, as well as where they shortened their name to what the world knows them as now. When they moved from Brazil to France, was when they started writing children' books. They started writing and publishing books when they had to flee from Paris, due to the start of World War II. Hans wrote journals and journals of their experiences. This book goes into great detail about their journey from escaping the Nazis. I find it so amazing and hard to believe, that two authors in which we admire for their classic book series had to go through so much heartbreak and terror. The illustrations and pictures in this book were actual photographs of the couple, as well as illustrations that resembled those in the Curious George series. I would use this book for research projects for fourth and fifth graders as well as if the class were talking about World War II." said.

"Since this was so highly acclaimed as nonfiction informational text with primary sources included, and I love Curious George, this was a must-read. However, the audience is DEFINITELY younger than middle school. I figured that due to its content (a narrow-escape from Nazi capture in WWII), it would be perfect for the age group that learns about WWII. So I probably won't be recommending it to any middle school teachers to use with their students during that unit. But maybe. I'm not sure that the younger audience will have any idea from what the characters (H.A. & Margret Rey) are running....

The primary sources I had heard so much about are very small photographs of the primary sources used to research this story, and certainly they serve as an example of how a narrative can be constructed by researching primary sources, and Borden explains her process at the beginning. The experience of reading this book resembles that of reading a Curious George book--it's that watered down and in the same style, exactly.

The most interesting part was seeing, even with such a cursory glance, the largest evacuation by vehicle ever that was the exodus from Paris when they left it open for German occupation. That was actually quite interesting and prompted further inquiry on my part, and maybe it will for older students, too.

I'd recommend to maybe 4th - 5th grade classrooms to support their inquiry-based research units.
" said.

"The lovable Curious George is one of the first characters my daughter ever identified with when she was little - in fact, the first long picture book that antsy little girl ever sat through was Curious George Goes to the Hospital. And George has a staple in my home ever since.

When I was at the Holocaust Memorial Museum recently, the bright colors of this book on the shelf caught my eye and I purchased it because I was, ahem, curious to know the story of the authors, which I had previously known nothing about.

Turns out, theirs is a pretty incredible story: a story of adventure and war, the realities of being a refugee and how two artists can make a living from a pen and some paints. From Brazil to France and Spain to Portugal, the journey of Curious George's creators is displayed in a vibrant and engaging format. Lots of primary sources here - we see pictures of telegrams and diaries, original photographs as well as illustrations from their books. This would be a great springboard book to talk with younger elementary school aged children about what it would be like to flee from war, in a way that is real but not incredibly frightening. Margaret and H. A. had guts and it shows in their choices. It also really makes you think about how many amazing things our world DOESN'T have and can never know about because of all those who were unable to escape they way they did.

I really liked this short biographical story of two incredible people.
" said.

"This is a wonderful book that recreates the story of Margaret and H.A. Rey, as they fled Paris just ahead of the Nazi army with the illustrations for the book that would later become Curious George strapped to the back of their bicycles.

I did not know that the Reys were German-born Jews, who had gained Brazilian citizenship in the early 1930s, before moving to an artistic quarter of Paris after their marriage. The book is lush with original Rey illustrations, photographs taken by Margaret, and excerpts from their daily diaries. It evokes their lives in South America and Paris deftly and in detail, down to drawings of their pets (monkeys in Rio, turtles in France).

As the war moves ever closer to Paris, the Reys are forced to join the stream of refugees on the roads out of the city. The story gives you a real sense of the impending menace of the German advance, and the flood of humanity that attempt a mass exodus in the wake of the declaration that Paris is an open city that will not be defended. It is a history lesson and an adventure story at once, as the Rey's cover hundreds of kilometers through the south of France, sleeping in barns, trying to reach a city where the trains are still running to Spain and Portugal.

Of course the story has a happy ending, as they eventually manage to make their way to America and settle in New York City, where the stories of Fifi the Curious Monkey became the Adventures of Curious George. Although it seems like everyone has read Curious George, I had been completely unaware of the back story that could have so easily prevented its publication. This book rights that wrong, and gives me an even greater appreciation for its creators.
" said.

" follow-on to 33 days by Leon Werth (DBG) bright shining Rey " said.

" This is an interesting story and I find it amazing that Curious George ever made it to publication. I do wish that the information within the book were presented in a different format, just wasn't a fan of how it was written or the small format in which the letters from the Rey's were shown in the margins. Wish that those tidbits had been large enough to read or for them to have been typed next to the graphic. " 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.

June 2017 New Book:

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