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...