The Journey That Saved Curious George

Oct 9, 2011

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

By Louise Borden and Allan Drummond

This book is a biography about the creators of Curious George, Margete Waldstein Reyensbach, later referred to as Margret, and Hans Reyersbach, hereafter referred to as H. A. Rey, and about the effect World War II had on their peaceful artists’ life. When they got married in Brazil (they had both come from Germany seeking work) they took a honeymoon trip to Paris, and worked there in an apartment for four years. When the war began in Poland, they moved to the French countryside for four months, until it was too cold to live in the drafty house. Then they moved back to Paris, and when the German soldiers came to France, they got the right papers to get out of France and on a boat to Brazil. In Brazil they got on a boat to America, and the whole journey took four months.

My favorite part of the book is
the sweet little picture of Margret when she was young, because she looks pretty and nice, and you wouldn’t know she had red hair or a spunky personality from the black and white picture. Her baby dress, white and lacy, is so pretty, and everything down to her shining leather shoes and starched socks and soft gentle laugh is amazing in contrast to her adult self.
I also love the couple’s pets: (they all come in pairs, it seems) Claudia and Claudius, the two French turtles, and the two marmosets they had in Brazil. Margret had knitted sweaters for the two monkeys, but they still did not survive the long honeymoon journey to France. I do think that is the saddest part, when the monkeys died, and although the book does not emphasize upon this fact, acknowledging it as merely a detail, but it still it is a detail, and what a sad detail it is.
There isn’t much to dislike about an artist’s life, unless you don’t like his drawings. But H. A. Rey’s drawings are all for children, and they are not to be frowned upon.

Many book reviews promise ‘For readers of all ages.’ If you want that kind of book, try Heidi. This was a good book but also lacking, good for relaxing but does not interest you enough that you can’t put it down. However if you’re like most people you will take a break and then come back with fresh eyes to have an enjoyable experience, leave feeling richer with the knowledge, interesting but not memorable. If you have the tenacity to finish the book, even if you don’t like it, you are bound to have a truly delightful read.