Are there any other parents out there that dislike Curious George as much as I do? I know, the book is a classic, beloved by children the world over, enduring for generations. But I really can't stand that mischievous little monkey, no matter how much others may love him.
First of all, the story. Far be it from me to be PC, but really? Catching a little monkey in a bag and sailing off to America to put him in a zoo? I know things used to be un-regulated, but this seems a bit much. When they finally get to the Man's house (after George almost drowns), they have dinner, George smokes a pipe (!), and then is tired and goes to bed.
What exactly was in that pipe that made George so sleepy?
The next day the Man leaves him to go run errands (and this is a common theme in the books, you'd think that guy would learn!), during which George accidentally calls the fire station. So of course, they haul him off to jail . . . don't get on the wrong side of a firefighter, kiddos, you will be in BIG trouble!
Each book has a great moral of the story too . . . oh, you were naughty and did what the Man told you not to do? Okay, let's reward you with a trip into space. Or a medal. Or a whole bunch of balloons to give to all your friends. The ends justify the means, my friend!
I guess Curious George is not so bad compared to some other enduring favorites. How about Babar, the incestuous elephant king? Don't get me started on Harold and the Purple Crayon . . . that book will NEVER enter our home. I have already cleaned up after one minor wall-writing incident, and that was enough for me, thank you very much. And who can forget The Giving Tree, a terrific example of co-dependency if I ever read one. Perhaps I am just too low-brow . . .
Story and morals aside, what's the real reason I dislike poor George so vehemently?
Those George books are soooooooo stinkin' long!
When we just had the original George book it wasn't too bad, I could stomach reading it in our rotation of other wonderful books. But. We decided that Sophia loved George so much (she really did/does) that we would get her the George collection in one big book for her second Christmas. And as a bonus, a cd came with the book that has all the stories read aloud.
You know what I hear every morning? And this is two years later, mind you. She still loves George this much . . .
"Can I listen to George?"
George is on my iPod, plugged into John's iHome speakers, all two hours and two minutes total. George is the soundtrack of my life nowadays. I can quote you select bits if you like. Do you want to hear from "Curious George Takes a Job," " . . . Rides a Bike," or ". . . Gets a Medal?" Or perhaps a selection from "Curious George Learns the Alphabet" . . . all 24 interminable minutes of it.
I know it isn't George's fault that he is so loveable that my daughter wants to listen to stories about him all day long. But I need a scapegoat, so George it is. I suppose I could just say "no" when Sophia bounces up to me in the morning, gleefully asking for me to turn her stories on. But it seems a little mean to say no simply because he annoys me. The neverending stories have given me a greater understanding for why you might want to give a 3-year old her own iPod . . . but I'm not going to go there!
Sometimes I think Sophia is done listening . . . she has gone off to build a fort in the living room, or color in the dining room, she can't really hear the stories in the kitchen, right?
"Mama, why did you turn George off? I was listening to that and he needs to deliver the newspapers."
Because Mama is going to go bonkers if she has to listen to one more rendition of how the big "A" looks like an alligator and the little "a" looks like an apple, and aren't you clever, George!
So I am on the hunt for a George replacement. Perhaps the music cd we gave Sophia for Christmas . . . maybe a chapter book like "Little House on the Prarie" . . . whatever it may be, I need to find it soon!