“This is George. He lived with his friend, the man with the yellow hat. He was a good little monkey and always very curious.”
This is how most of my favourite stories start. I loved Curious George when I was a little girl, and even more when I grew up.
My friends always knew what to get me… that anything “Curious George” themed would please me. In fact, for one Christmas I remember getting “Curious George” themed candles, and of course I own all the books, all the stories, and even the movie. When I had kids of my own, it was only a matter of time before I made them fall in love with Curious George as much as I had. That is the only cartoon I would let them watch in the morning, I would read them the ingenious stories every night, and they fell in love with the “good little monkey” that I loved all these years.
And then today, I was talking to my oldest son Jakub. He’ll be five years old in a few weeks. We were talking about differences in similar animals. For instance, “What is the difference between a cheetah and a jaguar?” “If you look at the spots of a jaguar, they are in a circle / flower arrangement, but a cheetah doesn’t have that. It just has spots all around.” If you’re interested, there’s some good answers to this question here. Then another: “Do you know the difference between the monkey and the chimpanzee?” I asked my son. “No, what is it?” he asked. “The tail. The chimp has no tail, and monkeys have tails!” “But Curious George has no tail, and he’s a monkey!” my son questioned further. I couldn’t believe him. Really? Curious George doesn’t have a tail? How is that possible? I told him to bring the Curious George book, so we could check. And low and behold:
CURIOUS GEORGE HAS NO TAIL!!!!!
I couldn’t believe that my favorite story, my favorite character was a fraud! He was never a monkey! He was a chimp! How could the man with the yellow hat called him a monkey? After all he was a scientist; he should have noticed the lack of tail? I cannot believe it! Curious George is not a monkey, and I only noticed now, after all these years. In fact, if my son wasn’t this inquisitive and so observant, I would have probably never noticed. I feel cheated. I felt so weirded out about it that I had to write about it.