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Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey

March 14, 2010 - August 1, 2010

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... an enticing, appealing, intelligent show...The New York Times

Curious George, the beloved, irrepressible monkey of children’s book lore, is famous for his ability to “save the day.” Interpreting the role he played in safeguarding his own creators in times of danger as symbolic, this exhibition delves into the remarkable lives and works of Margret and H. A. Rey. The couple fled Paris in 1940 with a Curious George manuscript in their suitcase. During a tense inspection of their belongings by a border official, children’s illustrations were found and they were allowed to continue on their way, eventually reaching the United States.

Featuring nearly eighty original drawings and preparatory dummies for Margret and H. A. Rey children’s books and documentation related to their escape from Nazi-occupied Europe, the exhibition will examine the parallels between the obstacles the Reys faced and the drawings that may have saved their lives. The story of their life in Paris and narrow escape is also told through an interactive timeline.

Appropriate for adults and children, the exhibition includes a reading room inspired by the beloved monkey’s escapades in Curious George Flies a Kite.

View Curriculum Materials for Educators (PDF).

Download and print the Family Gallery Guide (PDF).




Related Links

Reviews
Monkey Business in a World of Evil, The New York Times (3/25/2010)
A Monkey Born of Trials and Tribulations, The Wall Street Journal (4/7/2010)

Slide Shows
Curious George Saves the Day, The New York Times (3/25/2010)

Videos
Curator Claudia Nahson discusses exhibition. Curious George at The Jewish Museum, SundayArts, WNET, Channel 13 (3/21/2010)
How Curious George really saved the day on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, msnbc.msn.com (6/16/2010)

Audio
Claudia Nahson, curator at The Jewish Museum, Ellen Ruffin, curator at the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi, and Louise Borden, author of The Journey that Saved Curious George, discuss the exhibition. (1 hr) On Point with Tom Ashbrook, WBUR (3/29/2010)
Joe Donahue speaks with Claudia Nahson and Stephanie Plunkett on WAMC's The Roundtable (12/5/2011)


Curious George Gallery: The Original Curious GeorgeH. A. Rey (American, b. Germany, 1898-1977)
Final illustration for “One day George saw a man. He had on a large yellow straw hat,” published in The Original Curious George (1998)
France, 1939–40
Watercolor, charcoal, and color pencil on paper
H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Curious George, and related characters, created by Margret and H. A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. © 2010 by HMH


Margret and H. A. Rey
United States, late 1940s
H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi


H. A. Rey (American, b. Germany, 1898-1977)
Final illustration for “This is George. He lived in Africa,” published in The Original Curious George (1998), France, 1939–40, watercolor, charcoal, and color pencil on paper. H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, The University of Southern Mississippi. Curious George and related characters, created by Margret and H. A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company and used under license. Copyright © 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


How Do you Get There?H. A. Rey (American, b. Germany, 1898-1977)
Final illustration for How Do you Get There? (1941)
Paris, early 1940
Watercolor on board
H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi. Curious George, and related characters, created by Margret and H. A. Rey, are copyrighted and trademarked by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. © 2010 by HMH


H. A. Rey (American, b. Germany, 1898-1977)
Unpublished drawing United States, c. 1950s–60s, pencil on paper. H. A. & Margret Rey Papers, de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi.



Curious George Saves the Day: The Art of Margret and H.A. Rey is supported through a bequest from the Estate of Lore Ross.

WNET.ORG is a media sponsor.



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Special Thanks

de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection, McCain Library and Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi

Louise Borden and Allan Drummond, author and illustrator of The Journey That Saved Curious George. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company (2005)

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