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.