Hardcover, 64 pages
Published September 6th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Source: Raincoast Books
Look, I know that Curious George is fantastically popular among kids especially the younger ones and with good reason. I know that the spin-off cartoons and movies, both the animated version and the adapted ones, are beloved also for good reason. I know all that and I also understand that this 75th anniversary of the book is particularly indicative of the book’s popularity and enduring appeal to children. Despite all that, I cannot turn off the academic in my brain and read the book and appreciate it for the story of the curious monkey.
Why you ask?
Well. I have issues with The Man in the Yellow Hat. He essentially kidnaps the monkey from his native forest, disregards whatever name he may have and renames him in his own language, takes him away from his home and everything he is familiar to and puts him in a zoo.
“What a nice place for George to live.”
I…just can’t read Curious George through anything but a post-colonial lens. Okay if I’m going to go there, I might as well say that I can’t not see it as anything other than a slave narrative.
I mean…there are loads of other more contemporary picturebooks that are better (in my opinion) than Curious George though that’s blasphemy to my 3 year old niece who adores him. But as an adult, I don’t get the attraction and I find the book problematic.
Kids, however, will not question why the Man in the Yellow Hat could so blithely and without concern for the consequences remove a monkey from his native habitat and place him in a zoo touting it as a wonderful place though they totally should.
This is not much of a review but don’t tell me you actually expected one. I just have a lot of feels that needed airing.
That’s all folks.