A Toy to Remember

I sat down to write a lighthearted, happy story about my kids favourite toy but quickly found myself on a strange detour.

We came upon the toy at a yard sale and when the children showed so much love for it the lady would not accept any money. She said she was happy to know he was going to a happy home, full of love.

Deciding to do research before writing my story I Googled this toy to get some more background information and found a whole new back story.

Children’s books and movies often spawn a merchandising line but who would have thought that a book originally published in 1941 would also be reproduced as a stuffed toy and still available?

Who is this you ask? It is none other than Curious George the cute little brown monkey who has over six decades enjoyed so many adventures and captured the hearts of many children. George’s first book found him living in Africa only to be captured by ‘The Man in the Yellow Hat’ and taken to America. He was placed in a zoo to live out his life but managed to escape from the zoo and began his adventures. The Man in the Yellow Hat found him and brought him to live with him. George continued his adventures while living there. Does this remind you of the IKEA monkey who made headlines not long ago?

What disturbs me is that a story written for children was built on the beginnings of capturing a wild creature and placing it in captivity. I started digging further and found that many of the rhymes we learned as children have very different and sometimes disturbing back stories. Jack and Jill were King Louis XVI and Queen Marie who were both beheaded in 1793. Jack lost his crown or head and Jill’s head came tumbling after. Not such a pretty picture as seeing a couple of cute young people at a well high up on a hill and tumbling down the hill with their pail of water. The sketches accompanying this rhyme in children’s books would be grotesque if accurate.

If you are wondering about Curious George and his sojourn with our family it was like so many toys, his plush little body became worn thin. At first he was inseparable from them and then the attraction waned but thankfully the joy of reading about his adventures and many other books never left them. For this I thank George and his authors Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey.

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