The little brown monkey floats down the river on a plank of wood, his face set in its famously quizzical expression: eyes wide, eyebrows arched, mouth upturned at the corners. He and The Man in the Yellow Hat have been visiting friends in the country, but the monkey, wandering after some tempting distraction, as he is known to do, has gotten lost! After about 30 minutes (and two or three repeat trips past the same floating rock,) the monkey deduces his location, creates a mental map and is able to find his way back to his owner and his friends. When he finds him, The Man in the Yellow Hat shrugs and laughs. It's just another day in the life of Curious George.
|Photos by Altamese Osborne|
|Allan Drummond, illustrator, stands in front of an enlargement of one of his illustrations. |
Before George's animated turn as an early morning children's television character, he was the charming scamp in a series of children's books, "The Adventures of Curious George."
Before it was a popular children's book series, "The Adventures of Curious George" was originally titled "The Adventures of Fifi," created, written and illustrated by Hans and Margret Rey.
And before H..A. and Margret Rey created "The Adventures of Fifi," they were a couple desperate to flee Paris in advance of approaching Nazi forces.
Their epic journey is depicted in a series of 25 giclee (liquid) prints on watercolor paper, drawn by illustrator Allan Drummond and is titled "The Wartime Escape: Marget and H.A. Rey's Journey from France." The exhibition dots the halls in the Central Gallery at the Holocaust Museum Houston's Morgan Family Center.
This series of illustrations originally appeared in "The Journey that Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey," a book penned by Louise Borden.
"My [illustrations] are only half of the story," said Drummond during last week's preview reception. "It's really [Borden's] story."
Drummond's illustrations are as expressive as Curious George's innocent eyes, relying on a cool color palette that surprises with pockets of red, orange and yellow, the last paralleling the signature yellow of the "Curious George" book jackets.
Across from and next to Drummond's pieces, The Reys' own historic pieces -- photographs, journal pages, letters -- hang in the Central Gallery, contrasting with the bright illustrations of the former. "H.A. and Margret Rey at a book signing" is a black-and-white photograph of the smiling couple signing copies of their books. Children surround Margret in the foreground, while in the background, H.A. draws a kangaroo onto a chalkboard. Likewise, on "Diary page from May 1980," the closest the frayed, worn paper gets to the book series' signature sunny yellow is a faded custard curled into the tips of H.A.'s journal page.
Curated around Drummond's illustrations and the Reys' memorabilia is a vivid red background. Textual explanations of each pictures hang nearby. Instead of bland copy, these summaries are written as a picture book's question-and-answer format. With this, "The Wartime Escape" is designed to appeal to both adults and children -- and curious little monkeys.More »