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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Curious...about Curious George.

So my 3 1/2 y.o. son has always been a big fan of Curious George.  Yes, that lovable, laughable bundle of furry fluff-of-a-monkey - George. And, at first, I thought nothing of it.  That is, until I began reading the stories over and over and finally realizing something....

The stories are all about receiving praise & rewards when you've done something wrong {insert GASP here!!}.   Here are just a few examples right off the top of my head {I told you that I've read these just a few times!!} :)

*George climbs onto the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory and eats all the chocolates {bad monkey!}, but then he is the speedy monkey to help catch up the workers to get the chocolates into their boxes {good monkey!}, and he gets rewarded with more chocolates at the end.

*George attends story time at the library, only to get bored and not only leave story time, but also take one of the books the librarian had behind her to read to the kids.  He then proceeds to put dozens of books in a rollaway cart and actually rolls the whole thing down a ramp and then crashes, leaving books flying everywhere {bad monkey!}.    But the other kids then come and find some of the books he had in his cart and want to take them home {good monkey {for helping other kids be interested in books!}}; the kids also help George put the rest of the books away, and George even earns himself his own library card.

*George went to the train station and decided it was a good idea to change all the numbers for the arrival & departure times of the trains {bad monkey!}.  While in hiding after this, he sees a little boy who got away from his dad.  The boy's toy train is rolling toward the real train {subway} track, and the boy is following it.  George runs to grab the toy train and catch it before it falls, which of course, prevents the little boy from falling down into the tracks {good monkey!}.  He is then rewarded with driving with the engineer of the train.

All that being said, I know that sometimes George's mishaps are mistakes, and so I can't really scold him for that.  But often times, he purposely is disobeying "the man with the yellow hat."  So I can't help but ask, "Are these books really good for our kids to read?"  Perhaps not.  But I'm still going to read them to my son.  Why?  Well, he loves that little monkey.  But even more than that, I'll be sure to let him know that monkeys can get away with things that we humans can't.  That, as a monkey, he behaves the way he does because a) he's curious {versus deliberately disobedient}, and b} he's an animal with instincts.  Furthermore, my son will learn that people {monkeys} make mistakes, but they can often overcome their mistakes {and please note, "mistakes" does NOT equal "intentional misbehavior" -- that's a different lesson, to be read, "these are examples of things NOT to do!} and even make good of them.  And I think that's a good lesson for us all to keep in mind.

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