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The Journey That Saved Curious George : The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey Hardcover – September 26, 2005


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The Journey That Saved Curious George : The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey + Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys (Curious George)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 73 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; New title edition (September 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618339248
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618339242
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #432,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description

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 Reys' 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.




Amazon Exclusive: An Introduction and Photos from Louise Borden, Author of The Journey of Curious George
(Click to Enlarge)

Imagine our world without the famous little monkey Curious George!

He's a character that so many of us have grown up with, and like George, all of us are curious about the world in varying ways. Sometimes our explorations as kids and adults lead to hilarious mishaps or inspiring adventures. Sometimes our curiosity can change the world in amazing ways.

As a writer of children's books, I went on my own journey of antics and adventures in piecing together the long ago and unknown story of Margret and H. A. Rey's wartime escape from Paris in June of 1940.

Like George, I turned new corners and met new people who helped me. I traveled to exciting new places and learned new skills.

In the end, everything seemed to turn out well...just as it does for George.

Now, because of my curiosity, you, too, and everyone else, can know about the Reys' life story before they became famous and successful children's book creators. You can learn about George's first early escapes in The Journey That Saved Curious George.


The Reys honeymooned at the Terrass Hotel in Paris At the very beginning of World War II, the Reys spent several months at a chateau in the south of France The Reys passed through Acquebouille as they fled from the German army A map of the route that the Reys followed

A copy of the Reys' very first book for children, about a giraffe and nine monkeys The Rey Archives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Notice my detective's magnifying glass! Lay Lee Ong, executor of the Reys' estate Students love to learn about the wartime journey that Margret and Hans took


--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8–This beautifully designed volume is a must-have for children's literature buffs. The book is divided into two parts: the first gives background on the couple's childhoods and early life together; the second half is devoted to their dramatic escape from World War II-torn Europe. Husband and wife were both Jewish, born in Hamburg. After serving in the German army during World War I, Hans sailed to Brazil, where he wore a big hat and sailed down the Amazon. Margaret, an old family friend, joined him in 1935, and they soon married. Their honeymoon in Paris lasted four years. It was here that they began writing children's books about a curious little monkey named Fifi. By May of 1940 it was clear they must flee. So begins the second part. Tirelessly cycling by day, they boarded train after train as the Nazis occupied Paris, finally sailing to Rio. From there, it was on to New York, and within a year, Curious George was published. An afterword describes the balance of their lives. Borden spent years going through personal papers, notebooks, and photographs, and contacted people who knew the Reys. As a result, the book is richly detailed. Drummond's charming watercolors appear throughout, some full page, and many sharing or framing a page of text. In addition, abundant primary-source documents and photos along with original art combine to complete this attractive package. An appealing choice for biography assignments and units on World War II or refugees.–Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

Born (Oct 30,1949) and raised in Cincinnati, I have lived in Ohio my entire life except for two years in Massachusetts right after I was married. Growing up in an old house on a steep street, I attended a small elementary school called Lotspeich. There, all the marvelous shelves of books in the library shaped me into a lifelong reader. So it is a thrill for me to know that some of my books are being read by children in other libraries all over the country.

Before I became a full-time writer and speaker, I taught preschoolers and first graders and was even a part-owner of a bookstore in Cincinnati.

Today, it is hard for me to separate my writing from the way I live my life. My own family, personal experiences, and friendships, as well as a love of history and travel, have rich and lasting connections to the books I write. The first impulse to write a book is always triggered by something that has touched me indelibly.

In addition to my writing, my work in schools allows me to travel the incredible variety of landscape in Ohio, and meet the heart of its people. I have spoken in over 400 schools across the country, but mostly in Ohio. Because of this, I now have lifelong friends in communities from mighty Cleveland to small-town Greenville.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Adult readers will learn too.
Grandmere
I loved Curious George as a child so when I saw this book I had to read it.
Bonnie A.
Still, I wanted to read this book about an episode in the authors' lives.
Richard Roche

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By KidsReads on September 23, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Over the years, millions have followed along as Curious George learned the alphabet, went to the hospital, received a medal, and flew a kite. His most dramatic adventure, though, took place the year before his 1941 debut when his creators, Hans and Margret Rey, embarked on a journey that not only saved their lives but, in a sense, George's as well.

On June 12, 1940, as the German army marched through France, the Reys left Paris, traveling on bicycles that Hans made using spare parts. For three days they pedaled, on the first leg of what was to become a months-long journey that took them to five countries. Their final destination was New York City, where they made their new home.

On a gray, rainy day the Reys left Paris with little more than the clothes on their backs, but Hans carried precious cargo in the basket strapped to his bike --- a manuscript for their children's book featuring a cheeky monkey named Fifi (later re-named George).

As Louise Borden recounts, Hans and Margret were both raised Jewish in Hamburg, Germany, and their families were acquainted. In 1935, nine years after Hans had left Hamburg to settle in Rio de Janeiro, Margret too departed Germany. After working as a photographer in London, she made her way to Rio to look up Hans Rey, with whom she then began collaborating professionally and personally.

After the two artists were married in August of 1935, they returned to Europe and settled in Paris. It was here that they began writing and illustrating children's books, but five years after they arrived in the French capital they were forced to undertake their journey. Paris was becoming an increasingly dangerous place --- especially so for German-born Jews --- and hours after they left, the city fell to enemy forces.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard Roche on November 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Voila! It was there! A book that I had been waiting to read. On my desk I found The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H. A. Rey by Louise Borden, illustrated by Allan Drummond. Oooh, it was a nice looking book!

Everyone remembers Curious George, the mischievous monkey of picture book fame. If we did not read the books as children, we read them to our children. As a parent, I grew rather tired of them. Still, I wanted to read this book about an episode in the authors' lives.

Margret and H. A. Rey were living in Paris at the start of World War II, and being Jewish, were very concerned for their safety. Both had been born in Hamburg and had become a citizen of Brazil, but they had been in France for four years working on children's books. Two manuscripts were ready for publication, one about a penguin names Whiteblack and another about a monkey named Fifi, but the European publishers no longer had paper. The couple's preparations to flee Paris became more serious when the Germans crossed through Belgium and the Netherlands. Getting all the paperwork completed was maddening.

Louise Borden heard the story of the Reys' escape years ago and wanted to know more. She visited de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi to find the Reys' papers, wrote to people who had known the Reys, and traveled to Paris and the towns through which the couple escaped. She enlisted Allan Drummond to illustrate the story.

The result is a fine book for youth and adults. I enjoyed looking at Drummond's rich illustrations, showing the Reys on their bicycles in Paris, with people in their scarves and berets reading newspapers, crowded onto buses, carrying babies, all fleeing as Nazi planes dot the sky.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Nelda S. Mohr on October 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I gave this children's biography to my husband who collects Curious George memorabilia, but everyone in the family has taken time to read it, because three generations of us have loved the work of Margret and Hans Rey. This is the interesting story of their escape from Paris on bikes just as the Nazis began to occupy the city. It's a perfect choice for a fourth or fifth grader who is learning about World War II or one who really loved Curious George as a preschooler.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Grandmere on October 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written, historically accurate book. If you want to spark your child's curiousity about history along with his curiousity about George, this book will do it. Adult readers will learn too. Our grandchildren love the book and ask us to read it over and over. We need more historically based books for children.
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Format: Hardcover
Curious George is beloved and known by adults and kids around the world - but few have heard of the history of his creators, Hans and Margret Rey, who had to flee their Paris home as the Germans invaded. Their journey on bicycles with their children's book manuscripts among their few possessions is recounted here with pictures, flare and drama. Borden uses primary resources, including Rey's own pocket diaries, to tell their tale in The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape Of Margret And H.A. Rey, with Allan Drummond's drawings and vintage black and white photos throughout enhancing the biography and action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lorraine peterson on March 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This will be a present for my nephew George's 37th birthday. He loved

Curious George as a child, and still does. It's wonderful how someone

carries a love for a childhood toy, book, etc. throughout their life.

Such an individual eternally has a special spot in their heart

Kudos to Amazon for providing the book for $5.00 under market price.
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