Friday, July 07, 2017

Curious George Escapes from Wartorn Paris

Curious George is one of many beloved characters who inhabit children's books and children's imaginations. Curious George may not have actually visited Paris as part of his delightful adventures. However, the author H.A. Rey and his wife had a very real and dangerous Paris adventure: escaping from the German invasion of Paris in May through August, 1940. As they fled for their lives, they carried an early draft of the first Curious George book with them. They were fortunate, as their escape was successful, and they eventually came to the US where they published a number of successful children's books.

The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden describes the history of their lives in language that children could understand. Both of the Reys were German Jews, who had already fled from Germany and the Nazi persecutions. Unfortunately, they were in Paris when the German armies marched in. They managed to obtain needed papers, cash, and bicycles for the journey. They traveled through France by bicycle and by train, managed to cross the Spanish border, and then took a ship across the Atlantic. The book tells this story in detail, with illustrations from the archives of H.A. Rey and additional illustrations by Allan Drummond.

The house in Paris where the Reys were living.
H.A. Rey managed to acquire bicycle parts and make two bicycles for their escape.
For the summer blog event "Paris in July" I am reviewing visits to Paris by some well-known characters in children's books. This is no doubt the most surprising Paris connection of any such character, I would say! To see what Parisian adventures and locals the other bloggers are exploring, check the blog Thyme For Tea where Tamara, a lover of Paris who lives in Australia, is hosting this event.


Vicki said...

Love this post! My youngest son loved curious George when he was small young.

Tamara said...

What i love about Paris in July is how I get to learn about amazing stories like this. I am in awe of the strength & courage of people like these, who through their own turmoil, can move beyond to create such lovely Children’s books.. thanks.

Jeanie said...

I love the idea of reviewing children's books/characters related to France. And I had no idea about this fascinating story. I loved Curious George -- still do -- but the back story is better than all the episodes combined.

Lilbitbrit said...

I never knew that about the authors, I have the whole collection of Curious George books, collected and read to our boy when young. Much loved stories. Thank you for sharing that.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

The story of the Reys is even more interesting than that of Curious George, I think. Thank you for sharing this book.

Johanna GGG said...

I am a little embarrassed to say I did not read the curious george books to Sylvia when younger but she got to know it through the tv and it is so delightful - this book and the store of the Reys is really interesting - must look out for it