Curious George



Michievous monkey's antics will have kids laughing.

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Positive role models

The man in the yellow hat takes childlike George under his wing, but with the goal of throwing him into a zoo where his antics will essentially be controlled. Despite the man's good intentions, his poor supervision leads to George getting arrested, escaping from jail, smoking a pipe, causing traffic jams, etc. George emulates a child's curiosity but on a much larger, more exaggerated scale.

Violence & scariness

George is captured and taken away from his home, falls overboard and needs to be rescued, and spends some time in prison until he finds an opportunity to escape. Before being thrown into prison, the firefighters who responded to George's false alarm tell the monkey, "We will have to shut you up where you can't do any more harm."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Curious George is the first book in a series that's been popular for generations and has spawned an animated TV show and apps. George's antics will have kids laughing. The writing is simple and direct, and the art is charming in this adventure tale, first published in 1941. Some kids may be a little troubled by George's sad expression when he's whisked away from his jungle home -- as well as when he lands in jail for accidentally calling the fire department. Parents will want to reassure them that they won't get locked up for minor infractions.

What's the story?

What happens when you take a curious monkey out of the jungle and set him loose in the big city? When the monkey is Curious George, the answer is chaos ... and a whole lot of fun! It's one adventure after another until he is arrives happily at the zoo.


Is it any good?


George's insatiable curiosity -- and children's understanding of what could go wrong -- make this book such a fun read. This classic from 1941 has been criticized in recent times for seeming to condone colonialism, as it portrays the white Man in the Yellow Hat taking George from the African jungle to the big city with intentions of "civilizing" him.

Author-illustrator H. A. Rey takes care to fill every other page with a colorful cartoon-like drawing. One outstanding picture shows an aerial view of George holding balloons and floating over the city. However, sometimes a series of thumbnail pictures appears on one page and can confuse young children.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how George keeps getting into trouble. Why do you think he does?

  • What other George stories have you read or seen on TV? Why do kids love him so much?

  • Why is George in such serious trouble after the fire-station incident? What would happen if you accidentally summoned a fire truck in real life?

Book details

Author:H. A. Rey
Illustrator:H. A. Rey
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Houghton Mifflin Children's Books
Publication date:February 1, 1973
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7
Read aloud:3 - 7
Read alone:6 - 7

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bykimcsw February 18, 2010

Too mature for my toddler.

This is the very original origin story of Curious George and the man in the yellow hat meeting originally published in 1941 which is very different than the origin story portrayed in the 2006 movie Curious George. Children born in the 21rst century and their parents who are familiar with the Curious George and man in the yellow hat from the 2006, 2009, 2010, movies; the PBS math/science television series, and the Curious George stories created in the last 30 years will find this early 20th century story disturbing in some parts. The man in the yellow hat traps and kidnaps George against his will in Africa for a zoo in America. There is a perilous incident where George almost drowns in the ocean on the voyage to America. There is tobacco pipe smoking by both George and the man in the yellow hat in different parts of the story. George goes to prison for accidentally calling the fire department when playing around with the phone. George is never wanted or adopted by the man in the yellow hat, but put in the zoo after he is recaptured from his escape from prison.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old February 12, 2011

Great book for kids. Your kids will laugh right out of their chair

Great starter book for children. When I was younger, I would laugh my head off when George got in trouble and all the mistakes he would make.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008


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