Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review - Merry Christmas, Curious George

Merry Christmas, Curious George (Curious George New Adventures)
by Cathy Hapka
illustrated by Mary O'Keefe Young
Date: 2006
Publisher: HMH Books (Franchise)
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

It’s Christmastime! And irrepressible, excitable Curious George has just the spirit for it. He can’t wait to help his best friend, The Man with the Yellow Hat, pick out their holiday tree. At the tree farm, however, amid all the excitement of finding the perfect specimen, George gets carried away, as usual—atop his favorite tree! Hiding in the tree’s branches, George finds himself delivered to the local children’s hospital, where his tree trimming antics cheer the children and he gets to meet a jolly man in a bright red suit.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I haven't read about Curious George in many years. I was a bit disappointed to see that these new Curious George books are trying to emulate the old ones... right down to the sexism from the time of the original books.

Curious George runs into trouble at the Christmas tree farm. When he's up in a tree, a couple of guys cut it down and haul it off to the children's hospital, which you apparently get to through some time-travel vortex. All the nurses are women and wearing dresses and little white hats, all the doctors are old white men, and nobody seems to think that a creature carrying any number of zoonotic diseases is cause for concern in a building full of ill and possibly immunocompromised kids. The depiction of the kids isn't very realistic, either, and I'd be afraid it would frighten some children, since it shows one little girl with a mere broken arm having to stay in the hospital over Christmas. There are no kids who appear to be going through chemotherapy, which you'd expect to find in a children's hospital; in fact, some of the kids look like they were hit by cars or fell out of trees. The rest look perfectly healthy (no IVs, no feeding tubes, etc.), so we don't know why they're there.

The pictures--aside from the problematic things they depict--are cute, and look much the way I remember the Curious George books looking years ago, even though they're done by a different artist. I just can't wholeheartedly recommend this one because of the dated feel. It either needs to be clearer that this is set in the past (the little girl in modern-looking cropped leggings kind of confused the issue), or the pictures need some updating.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.5 out of 5

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