Friday, October 13, 2006



I've spent most of the last day and a half or so semi-conscious, fighting off some super-nasty virus that decided to make me its bitch. No fun at all. This morning, I'm finally returning to the land of the living.

This morning I was both home and relatively alert, and The Boy was at school, so The Girl decided to take the opportunity to have me read her approximately 1000 books, most of them about Curious George. The Girl LOVES Curious George. Her favorite word is “Again!,” so I've had a chance to reacquaint myself with CG's oeuvre.

For the uninitiated, Curious George books come in three epochs. The first, of course, is the original series, by H.A. Rey and (sometimes) Margaret Rey. These are quite good, but they tend to be long (48-64 pages) and politically incorrect. (In the first book of the series, George calms down before bed by smoking a pipe!) The second was a collection of much slimmer volumes published in the 1980's, taken directly from a cheaply-produced tv cartoon series. These are terrible. The pictures are washed-out, the language is without craft, and even the printing is cheap. The third is a surprisingly-good series by “Vipah Interactive,” whatever that is, published from the late 1990's to now.

The Girl is wild about the first and third series. This morning we read CG Goes to the Library, CG goes Camping, CG Wins a Medal, and CG Goes to the Beach, each one several times and to The Girl's unending delight. (Given the chance, she would have had me read more.) I think the appeal, other than the cuteness of the drawings, is the innocence of the chaos. CG invariably triggers an out-of-control series of events, but not maliciously, and he never gets in trouble. All is forgiven and CG is a hero. From The Girl's perspective, I'm guessing, it's a reassuringly safe adventure.

(Both The Girl and The Boy love The Monster at the End of This Book, starring Grover. I think the appeal there is that Grover gets visibly flustered, but there's no real conflict and it's played for laughs. Characters in children's books rarely show real emotion, so Grover's obvious over-the-top frustration is both funny and surprising. At least the first dozen times.)

Since The Boy started school, The Girl's language development has exploded. I think she was just waiting for her turn in the spotlight. Now that she has Mommy (and sometimes Daddy) to herself for extended periods, she needs a larger repertoire. It's fun to watch.

I'm going to make some more hot tea now...

Have you read the essay "Faithful to Profit 100%" on Dr. Seuss and what happened when he decided to go with registered tradmarks instead of copyrights?
It's a fascinating read by a true fan of Seuss. It deals with those issues of epoch and quality really well.
And thanks for the heads-up on Curious George -- I may use the example as another instance of the trademark problem when I adress it in my Pop Culture class.
That article's abstract is here. The author seems to have lots to say about children's books!
Bummer on contracting the Airborne Ick, DD. I hope that you feel better. And thanks for making me smile on this otherwise ragey day; I adored The Monster at the End of This Book when I was a child but had not thought about it in years. Take care of yourself! :-)
The Monster at the End of this Book was my baby sister's favorite when we were growing up.

She had/has a fairly serious learning disability, so she couldn't read it at all herself, but my other sister and I had read it to her so many times that she had MEMORIZED the whole thing.

I wrote a poem about it just before her 26th (!) birthday last month.
Feel better DeadDad!

I have an original series CG that is signed by the author. My dad made the pipe thing more palatable by hinting that it contained weed. Funny to think that this was more politically correct than tobacco in the 70s!
My boys loved the Monster at the End of the Book, but I scared the heebie jeebies out of my four year old nephew with it.

I don't know why, but my boys weren't big Curious George fans. I was though!
We love CG, even in his lesser (albeit more politically current) permutations.
Can it be that you have missed our current favorite, _Curious George Makes Pancakes_--with blueberries, yet. And thereby makes the hospital fundraising pancake breakfast a huge success? We read them as a series: Pancakes, Library, Camping. Pancakes, Library, Camping. Pancakes, Lib......
Please don't stop the comments now! If they're over, then we'll reach the end of this entry, which is v e r y s c a r y
"Makes Pancakes" is one of our favorites! (I can't get past the image of monkey fur in the dough, though.)
When I was a small child, I had the monster at the end of this book read to me over and over, until I was able to read it myself, and read it a billion more times.
Another Monster at the End of This Book fan here. This was one of the first books I bought for Pistola. I was so excited to share it with her, because I loved this book so much as a kid. Thankfully, she loves this book, too. I would have been heartbroken if she didn't!

My favorite CG book is CG Gets a Job. I just love that one: the dishwashing, the paint job--it's great.

On a somewhat related note, I really liked the CG movie (so nice to see a non--obnoxious kids' movie), and I've liked what little I've seen of the new CG show on PBS.
I too am a big fan of Monster at the End of this Book. At one point I looked for it and couldn't find it, and was in despair. I'm glad to know it's still around.
My strongest memory of the book is of myself, nervous, in front of my kindergarten class, reading it to my classmates. The beginning of something, no doubt.
I adored CG and The Monster at the End of This Book as a kid. It's nice to know those books are still appealing to kids 20-odd years later.

Does the girl read any Madeline? I loved the Madeline books, and the illustrations are fantastic.
I was never much of a CG fan, but I adored "My Father's Dragon" (by Ruth Stiles Gannett) when I was young. Enough so that I just picked up a copy recently. It's hard not to love it.

"Alexander and his terrible horrible no good very bad day" is also good.

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My son (2yrs old) loves much so that we use the DVR to save episodes and play them over and over again...and now his 6 month old sister loves CG much so that we are feeling guilty about the tv time they are this summer we will be going to the library to visit CG in books...Go Do Go is anothe of my son's favorite --mainly because he loves dogs...monkeys and dogs...and we were hoping he'd love horses...though I guess he really liokes animals in general...recommendations????
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