Saturday, January 5, 2008
An H. A. and Margaret Rey Kind of Day
On December 31 the Budza and I took the subway in to Houghton Mifflin, where my husband works. It was so cold outside we had soup from the company cafeteria rather that go out to find pizza somewhere. In the company cafeteria there is a green piano with a painting of a dachshund on it, and the style of the painting was very familiar. I went for a closer look, and sure enough, there was an inscription "To Nancy, from Pretzel and H.A. and Margaret Rey." The Reys, of course, being the couple behind Curious George.
After lunch there was still an hour to go before the end of my husband's work day, when we planned to walk around the preparations for First Night and see some ice sculptures. After giving the options some thought, the Budza and I decided to walk up the street to the Boston Public Library, to the Margaret and H.A. Rey Children's room. We loaded up with some books for the Bud, including a great graphic novel, more about which in a separate post. It was shaping up to be a Curious George sort of day.
And it reminded me that a friend had sent a book earlier in the year that was the account of the Reys' escape from the advancing Nazis.
The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Borden with watercolor illustrations by Allan Drummond (Houghton Mifflin 2005). It tells the story of the Reys' escape from Nazi-occupied France on bicycles, carrying the drawings and manuscript that would become the first Curious George book. I had set our copy aside at the time, but it now occurs to me that it's probably a good way to introduce the Budza to that awful chapter of world history, when he's still a little young, at age 8, for The Diary of Anne Frank.