Margaret and H.A. Rey Author Study
Tracey Bunce and Christie Leszczynski CURR 438 Author Study – Margret and H - Margaret and H.A. Rey Author Study introduction. A. Rey Due: 11/27/2012 Margret and H. A. Rey are well known authors of the popular children’s series starring Curious George. What is not so well known about them is why these books and others they have written contain the themes that they do. Margret and H. A. Rey had a very rich and tumultuous life before publishing their first children’s book.
Their Jewish heritage during an age of war against Jews and the subsequent escape by bike to safety inspired a lot of George’s narrow escapes from trouble after being too curious. They are husband and wife and also a fully self-dependent author illustrator team. The illustrations across all of their books reflect a particular style, not only in Curious George, as well as multiple common themes. Of their large collection, the most notable stories are that of Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys, the original seven Curious George stories, and The Stars.
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The original Curious George books for which these authors are most popular include: Curious George (1941), Curious George Takes a Job (1947), Curious George Rides a Bike (1952), Curious George Gets a Medal (1957), Curious George Flies a Kite (1958), Curious George Learns the Alphabet (1963), and Curious George Goes to the Hospital (1966). This is not the first time Curious George existed in the couples writing, however. The curious monkey made his debut in the first children’s story book they ever published in 1939 called “Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys. ” This book was both written and illustrated by H. A.
Rey after he was asked by an editor to create a story about one of his cartoon giraffes drawn for the paper. Publishers and readers alike really enjoyed the character of Fifi, who would soon be named Curious George and continue on with his own series. The story “Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys” is about a giraffe named Cecily G. (G for giraffe, although when initially published in France this was not her name- it was Rafi) who is sad about losing all of her friends and family to a zoo. A monkey named Mother Pamplemoose. and her eight children were left homeless by the loss of all the trees in their forest due to woodcutters.
The monkeys decide to pack up and leave, but the family runs into a deep ravine that poses to be an obstacle they cannot get by. The youngest monkey notices Cecily G. on the other side of the ravine who immediately stops crying from sadness helps the monkeys across. Fifi (Curious George) is the first monkey to cross and introduces rest of his family. They all decide to live together and a fire breaks out in Cecily’s house! They all work together and put out the fire, and in doing so create a bond that cannot be broken. This bond inspires one monkey to write a song that is featured in the back of the book.
As the first story of a long series to come, Cecily G. sets up reader’s interest immediately in the character of Fifi, later to be known as Curious George. The monkey’s outgoing personality is seen even before he has his own story and it allows the authors to make an obvious and easy transition to stories containing him as a single character. The Curious George series as follows puts the monkey in multiple situations where he allows his curiosity to get himself into trouble and is often narrowly saved by the man in the yellow hat, who is his closest friend and family. All of the books in the series are illustrated by H.
A. Rey with his original drawings of Curious George that he took with him during his escape from Nazi occupied France in 1941. The couple, both German Jews, took only a change of clothes and their manuscripts for these children’s stories on homemade bikes during their escape from France. The obvious value and passion of their work is shown through this act and also through the subtle connections with Curious George to their own lives. Margret and H. A. Rey did not always live in Paris, France, but so happened to be living there after a honeymoon in Paris that they chose to extend to a living situation.
They were both born in Germany and attended separate schooling. Margret worked for an advertising agency and H. A. Rey was a salesman when they met at a party in Germany. Shortly after, but not at the same time, they moved to Rio in Brazil and reunited. After working and living in Rio, they decided to get married and honeymooned in Paris, France, where they decided to stay to live. Here, they both worked with music, art, and advertising. They shared a mutual love for writing and telling stories. H. A. Rey wrote, illustrated, and published the Cecily G. book after recommendation from a newspaper editor to do so.
The war was going on and Jews living in France were in danger as the Nazi’s moved toward invading, eventually creating Vichy France and sending Jews from France to concentration camps to be killed. Margret and H. A. Rey literally escaped a day before they came. Ideas including the feeling of almost being trapped, narrowly escaping danger, and leading a life of adventure in many different ways sets up the common themes that readers see throughout the Curious George series and other stories written by the couple. Their lives are reflected by the stories of this monkey.
George’s natural need to learn and his curiosity for all different parts of the world reflect the Rey’s openness to new culture and adventure. Moving around not only with jobs but to different countries very much enriched their worldly experience and own curiosity. George’s narrow escapes from danger parallel that of the couple escaping Vichy France. The obvious passion for conveying a story for the entertainment of children and H. A. Rey’s drive to continue to create art and explore the world around him are seen in all of the stories. Each book was made entirely by this couple from their own imagination.
H. A. Rey demonstrates an even further curiosity of the world around him with his story about the stars. When he was in the army, he often spent nights looking up at the sky trying to identify constellations. He found them fascinating, but hard to find and set out to make a new way to look at these star formations. He used his already creatively artistic mind to write: “The Stars,” a book containing picture illustrations to aide in the visualization of constellations. This is a book that many people are familiar with and use the images from without knowing that it came from this very author.
He gets less credit for it than deserved, as it has lived on well past his initial publication and still proves to be useful in today’s social technologically advanced culture. His personal passion for this subject bursts from every page with attention to every detail and brings the stars to life. Margret and H. A. Rey have a particular style throughout all of their stories, especially with plot and illustrations. Generally, the story plot starts out in a new place, the character is curious and explores the place a bit more than he should, and then needs to be saved by another character and learns a particular lesson about that place.
For the illustrations, their initial ones started out as watercolor, but when fleeing to the United States, they were told they had to use color specific illustrations that are separated and defined. H. A. Rey redid his very first drawings, but the characters remain constant throughout all of the original pieces. Characters who were not Curious George or part of a Curious George book still reflect the same drawing style. Margret and H. A. Rey live on as many books in the same style have been published to continue Curious George’s legacy and story. Often they are written by Margret and illustrated in the style of H.
A. Rey, but some are entirely separate from the couple. This in itself speaks to the impact these authors had on our generation. The fact that people want these books to live on and subsequently write books to continue on this story demonstrates the interest that the content in their stories still holds. The themes that this couple inserted into their work can still be related to today. There is no doubt that children in the future will also love the little curious monkey named George. Margaret and H. A. Rey’s books are highly used in classrooms today.
These books encompass a variety of themes that can be used in an instructional manner in the classroom along with just being entertaining for children to read. Curious George is used widely across kindergarten classrooms because of the characterization of Curious George and the entertainment that children experience when reading these well written children books. Kindergarteners can explore the characterization of Curious George by taking photos of Curious George and exploring the character through images. On the first day of this Curious George study, teachers can read a variety of Curious George stories to their students.
The first story that the teacher should read is Cecily G. and the 9 Monkeys. This introduces Curious George and his curious nature before becoming one of the most well-known characters in children’s literature. While reading a variety of Curious George books, teachers can engage their students in making lists and webs of character attributes. By taking time and reading a variety of different Curious George stories children will be able to see Curious George in a variety of different settings and analyze his character traits through the mischief he gets into throughout his series.
There are many different extension activities that can be used to enhance the students understanding of character traits through application. One way is to have children brainstorm a list of ideas where Curious George might get into mischief throughout their school. Giving students the power to develop a character in their own environment will help children to understand how the author creates the story and develops the characters.
After creating their lists of situations or where Curious George could have an adventure in their own school, the class can take a stuff animal or picture of Curious George and pose him in pictures throughout the school based on their lists. Then, the class can write sentences based on the pictures that they took in their schools. By doing this extension activity, the students will be able to experience the writers process of creating a story. Finally the students can come all together and look at their sentences and pictures to figure out the sequence of their story.
The students will have a chance to engage in discussions around why they think the scenes should be organized in a specific way. This extension activity allows students to understand character traits while being able to authentically experience an activity in which they are able to become an author. After creating the story, the teacher could create a detailed story book by video taping each page of the story reading it and adding music to it. The students then will be able to see their story in a different form which they could then take home and listen to or read to their families.
There are many ways to use Curious George in the classroom, from kindergarten to high school. There are different ways that this story can be incorporated into the classroom. With the link to World War II the middle school and high school students can explore the hidden themes that would be connected to World War II and the implications that the time period had on Margaret and H. A. Rey’s. Christie Leszczynski CURR 438 Review of Curious George Goes to the Hospital Due: 11/20/2012 Curious George goes to the hospital is a relatable book for children when experiencing a hard time.
In this story Curious George mistakenly eats a jigsaw puzzle piece, thinking that it might be candy. After eating the piece of candy his stomach starts to hurt the next morning. In the morning the Man in the Yellow Hat takes him to the hospital for the doctors to check him out. At the hospital George goes through a variety of different tests and procedures that someone might go through when being prepared for a simple surgery. George is able to experience things like x-rays and shots along with describing a somewhat painful recovery as he has to stay in the hospital for a couple of days to heal from the surgery.
Throughout the story George develops relationships with people in the hospital, and becomes very curious in his hospital stay. Towards the end of the story there is some excitement in the story when George drives a go-cart and crashes into a dining cart in front of the Mayor who is visiting the hospital. In the end, the Mayor is happy because he sees that all of the children are laughing and enjoying George and his mischief. Throughout the story George becomes a distraction to the other children that are staying in the hospital and provides a distraction to the pain that they may be experiencing.
The Mayor and hospital administrator see that George is helping the children in a very difficult time. As a young child I enjoyed this book. I remember the librarian reading this book to us in library class and immediately after reading the book, kids asking where they could get more Curious George books. The reasons why I enjoyed it as a young child is because I was always curious about everything and loved to be entertained. I thought that Curious George was a great character and that the trouble he got into was funny. As
an adult re-reading this story, it still provides enjoyment and I notice myself admiring the illustrations throughout the story. It still provides me with a sense of happiness and brings back memories of my childhood literacy experiences. As a teacher I think that this book would be a great example for children who might be worried about a visit to the doctor or hospital stay. As I reflect on one of my friend’s son who has Cerebral Palsy and has multiple stays in the hospital, this book would be a great book to read to him before and during one of his lengthy hospital stays.
Currently, his mom and doctors explain and show him using a stuff animal on where new ports or things will be in his body. He likes to see what the ports will look like before going into surgery or see what the x-ray machine looks like before having x-rays taken. After reading this book, I think that this would be a great way to lighten the mood of this little boy’s hospital experiences during his long stays. Re-reading a variety of Curious George books allowed me to experience the fun loving character traits that George encompasses.
Curious George Goes to the Hospital is one of my favorite books of Margret and H. A. Hey’s as an adult because it is an enjoyable book, but can also be used to help a child in a difficult time. Tracey Bunce CURR 438 Review of Billy’s Picture Due: 11/27/2012 “Billy’s Picture” is a fun children’s book written by Margret & H. A. Rey. The story was originally published in 1948, and although it is not one of the Curious George series for which they are most well-known, the book holds a special place in the literature of these two authors.
The story is simple, but provides entertainment and a concept to think about for people of all ages. The plot begins when Billy, a small white bunny, wanted to draw a picture of himself. As he was drawing, his friends came along to see what he was doing. One by one, each friend added what they thought the picture needed. Hi original picture was supposed to be of a bunny, but penny the puppy added a dog head, Greta the goose added goose feet, Paul the porcupine added quills and many other friends added a characteristic to the picture. After each friend added something they would exclaim “that’s the way it should be!
” and Billy would begin to say “But what…” and be cut off by another friend. This process continued until Billy finally got the chance to say how he felt. Billy had been trying to tell the other animals the entire time that he never wanted to draw a puppygoose or a porcuphant, all he wanted to draw was a picture of himself. He then cried and then the other animals began to talk. They discovered that the reason each one of them added something to his picture that resembled their own characteristics was because that was precisely what all the animals wanted to do – draw a picture of themselves!
The story ends with each of the animals drawing a self portrait and Billy finally getting to draw a picture of himself as a bunny. The story overall is very cute and easy to relate to, as often people feel their own voice or opinion is overlooked by the strong opinion of another person, especially close friends. An interesting point to look at while reading this story are the illustrations. H. A. Rey was an avid artist who loved drawing and painting and continued to do this for the rest of the stories he and his wife published.
When looking at other books written by he and Margret, readers will notice a difference in his illustrations for this particular book as compared to others. He used a lot of retro style illustrations with hard lines and contrasting colors. The colors were very limited, however, and only consisted of a green background with black, red, white, pink, and grey colors to make the animals. Billy’s picture and his friend’s pictures were all made with black ink and thick lines, similar to the way that H. A. Rey made his animals.
This is in contrast to Curious George who was made with watercolors and contained many different colors throughout the story. As a child learning to read, this book holds a lot of value. It is very repetitive, with each event happening over and over with different animals. It provides an opportunity for children to be confident in what they are reading and to increase fluency abilities through repetition. It also has a predictability factor that kids love because they can guess what comes next and even get a direct opportunity to with a unique ending.
Adults and teachers will also enjoy this story through its simplicity, but also through its underlying comments on friendship and individuality. The need to be heard isn’t something that goes away once you’re older and we can all relate to Billy in this way. His friends are very excited to contribute to his drawing, whereas Billy feels a sense of dismay and has no time to share his feelings before the next animal comes along. This could easily be used in a classroom setting when teaching children to listen to other’s opinions and thinking before taking action, especially when it is not on your own thing.
It can be used as part of a fluency station or an easy reader’s theatre as well. There are multiple characters that would support a large group of students, or it can be modified to use the students themselves and their own personal traits they would add to a friend’s poster. Personally, I really enjoyed this book, possibly more than most of the Curious George books. This was because it is a change to what I normally know of these authors and it was a lot less writing on each page, making the story easier to get through as a read-aloud or otherwise.