Curious George has been entertaining children for three
generations, but now he'll do more than entertain as part of a new
exhibit at the Illinois
Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie. The exhibit
tells the journey of the little brown monkey's creators, Margret
and H.A. Rey, as they escaped the Nazi invasion at the start of
World War II.
When the Jewish authors fled Paris on bikes toward Spain to
escape the Nazis, the Curious George manuscript and illustrations
were among the few possessions they could carry with them. Escaping
via Spain and Portugal, then across the Atlantic to Brazil, the
Reys reached the United States in October 1940. A month later, they
signed a contract with Houghton Mifflin for the book.
"Most people don't know that one of the most common picture book
classics that they are used to reading is connected to World War II
and the Holocaust," says Noreen Brand, director of education for
the museum. "This exhibit looks at the fact that we have two
individuals who took their belongings and put them into their
knapsacks on their bikes, and this is what they chose to save."
The exhibit is based on the book written about the Reys, The
Journey That Saved Curious George, by Louise Borden and illustrated
by Allan Drummond and features 27 framed art prints chronicling the
While the artwork itself probably won't interest young children,
there will be a reading area in the exhibit where they can enjoy
all the Curious George books, as well as others by Borden, Brand
says. Family activities are planned for the exhibit and the museum
has other, interactive areas that will also appeal to children.
The exhibit is included in the price of admission.
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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