Fun in the Car with Curious George

Curious George
For all of you parents out there, maybe you remember when your parents used to take you out for a Sunday drive in the family vehicle, while singing songs and bonding. Of course, things didn’t always run so smoothly in the back seat if you and your siblings didn’t have some fun things to do while you drove. If you’re like me, you love to go on road trips, but may have a hard time in choosing activities to keep your kids occupied. Thankfully, Curious George has plenty of fun to offer your kids in the car.

Although we don’t sell songbooks (this might be a relief for some of you), we currently have a Curious George Super Sticker Activity Book that comes with 500 stickers. This book is geared towards ages 4-8, and includes over 45 activities. There are counting games, drawing challenges, 8 search-and-find scenes, holiday-themed activities (with stickers), 4 sticker puzzles, counting and matching activities, and did I mention stickers? All for your little one.

If you are one of those families that is blessed with a portable DVD player, then we have even more options for you. We have Curious George DVDs like Curious George: A Bike Ride Adventure and Curious George Goes Green. I guarantee that your kids will love these DVDs!

If your child is old enough to read, we have books that will correlate with activities that you may already be doing this summer, including Curious George at the Baseball Game as well as Curious George Goes to Costumer Party. These are fantastic books that you can take along on a family car ride, as well.

So stave off the boredom and the antsy energy with some of these fun items. Then don’t forget to stop for an ice cream and a stretch of the legs every so often!

Curious George Drawn From Real Life Inspiration

Have you ever wondered why Curious George is so curious?  Or why he has a penchant for mischief, is always getting into trouble, yet somehow seems to narrowly escape disaster time and time again?

The source of inspiration came from the couple who first created the children’s books themselves, H.A. and Margret Reys.  The Reys were German Jews that lived in Paris during the time of the Nazi reign.  Because they were Jewish, they had to constantly search for safe places to hide from the Germans.  Two days before the Germans marched on Paris, they fled on their bicycles carrying drawings that later became the character of Curious George.  The theme of escaping disaster just in the nick of time throughout many of the Curious George episodes reflects the Rey’s own experience in life.

The Reys fled from Paris to New York in 1940.  While on board the ship, Margaret Rey used to sew miniature sweaters to keep the monkeys warm.  However, her efforts proved to be in vain, as none of the monkeys were able to survive the long passage. The Reys also used this time to develop the literature for Curious George.

The original name for George was Fifi.  When the Reys finally made it to America, they showed their manuscript to publisher Houghton Mifflin.  Houghton Mifflin expressed doubts about the name Fifi, especially for a boy monkey.  The Reys proceeded to change the name to George. In England, Curious George is known as ZoZo.

Although the monkeys did not survive in real life, through their literature, stories, and drawings, the Reys were able to create the story of a monkey that survived against all odds.  Curious George is a monkey to which many of us aspire.  This tried and true monkey may have a lot of flaws, but he has a heart full of gold and always learns his lesson.  Please click on the link if you are interested in browsing our selection of Curious George toys.  Although we can’t guarantee your invinciblity, we promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Get ready for Earth Day!

Earth Day is coming, and that can only mean one thing—you have extra guilt to use as leverage when your kids leave the lights on. Oh, I guess that’s not all it means. But you’re certainly going to want to seize the opportunity to get your kids excited about sharing and caring for our planet, right?

Don’t forget that the U.S. Government has a special page of Earth Day links for kids, to get you started. FamilyEducation.com has some great ideas, too.

Over at the Iddy Biddy Blog, you can read all about the PBS KIDS GO! rev-up for Earth Day, including special themed episodes of many of your favorites, from Curious George to Clifford to Maya and Miguel. And speaking of the Idbids, have you shopped the Idbids Store lately? We have organic cotton Idbids Earth Day shirts ready for personalization; they’re sure to be a hit with your little eco-warrior.

(Of course, we have all of your favorite characters from this month’s eco-themed episodes on PBS here at Ty’s Toy Box, but you already knew that.)

However you choose to get ready for Earth Day, we hope you’ll celebrate!

Curious George on your TV, in your museum

Ask any kid (or adult, for that matter) what you need to know about everyone’s favorite monkey, and they’ll tell you two things: Curious George lives with the Man with the Yellow Hat, and he’s a good little monkey but always very curious.

(“Always very curious,” in case you’re wondering, means “gets into a lot of trouble but is cute enough to get away with it.”)

Anyway, the wild success of the PBS show came as a surprise to no one, and the series has been booked through Season 6, at this point, which means there will be new episodes through 2012 (if not beyond). That’s a whole lot of curiosity yet to come!

The thing that I think is positively brilliant, though, is that there’s now a traveling museum event based on George—and right now, it’s in Memphis, Tennessee:

The Childrens Museum of Memphis is hosting Curious George: Lets Get Curious! June 14 – September 28. [...]

Inside the Exhibit

Apartment Building: Move George on pulleys from window to window, climb the fire escape and go inside to play with color, light and shadow.

Sidewalk Produce Stand: Play customer or salesperson and explore shape, sorting, weighing and counting with fruit and vegetables.

Construction Site: Climb into the construction trailer, design a building, make use of building materials, and get to work constructing different structures.

[...]

Museum Within the Museum: Follow H.A. and Margaret Reys work, the escape from France to safety during World War II that saved the Curious George manuscript, and Curious George throughout the years.

I’m leaving out a bunch of details, but even based on that excerpt, aren’t you intrigued? I am! I can’t seem to find a master schedule anywhere, but I was able to find that after the summer in Memphis, the exhibit will head up to the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, New York.

Keep an eye out—maybe George will be coming to your hometown, much to the delight of your own curious monkeys.

PBS scores big with Daytime Emmy awards

Just in case you missed it, the 35th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards were given our last Friday, and many of our favorite kid’ shows were recognized for excellence. PBS topped the list with 10 awards; for example, Sesame Street won “Outstanding Pre-School Children’s Series,” bringing that show’s total Emmy count to seventy gagillion*.

Other awards of note to those of us with ankle-biters in the house:

  • Curious George won “Outstanding Children’s Animated Program”
  • The Backyardigans won “Outstanding Special Class Animated Program”
  • Wonder Pets won “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition”
  • Both Greatest Inventions with Bill Nye and Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild won for “Outstanding Children’s Series”
  • Between the Lions won “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series”
  • “Outstanding Writing in Animation” went to both Peep and the Big Wide World and WordGirl

There are other awards, of course, but those are the ones of greatest interest to me. Of course, if you’re deeply moved by the Emmy The Price Is Right won for make-up, well then, to each his own. (My reaction, upon reading that: “Wait… The Price Is Right is still on the air? Isn’t Bob Barker 104?”)

Anyway, it was a pretty exciting day for some great children’s shows. Congratulations to all the winners!

* A “gajillion” is not really a number. Sesame Street has, in fact, won 117 Daytime Emmys, which is very close to seventy gajillion.