The first appearance of Fifi aka Curious George

Close to as promised.  😉

The first edition of Cecily was published in Paris in 1939. The original title was Raffy and the 9 monkeys.  And that lovable monkey known as Curious George?  He was originally called Fifi.  In New York his name was changed to George because it was felt his name was too feminine.  An English version was published in London in 1941 in which he was renamed Zozo (the King at the time was King George the VI and I guess having a monkey named the same wasn’t looked upon highly. 🙂 )

I did not even know this book existed until I searched for 1940 children’s books and learned a little bit about the history of Curious George.  Here he is, with his family and Cecily G.:

I love the descriptions of the family of Monkeys.  What one word would you pick to describe yourself?   Curious? Clever? Good? Brave? Kind? Strong? or a different one entirely?

After a short introduction to the monkey family we meet Cecily, who is very sad her whole family is gone to live at a zoo.  She wants someone to play with.

One day she saw some monkeys that needed help crossing a deep ravine.  She became a bridge and the animals became friends.

I love the innovative ways the giraffe helps and the clever writing in this book.  A beautiful book of friendship and using our talents to help others.

Of all the fun images in this book, the next two are so very playful and my favorites.  Love the giraffe bed:

and who would have thought to give a giraffe stilts.

Makes me laugh.  “…so high the page isn’t big enough to show all of her.”

This book would not be complete without a giraffe-clef and monkey-note song to finish up with:

There is plenty more to the story – so check it out from your library and enjoy the fun-lovin’ nature of Cecily and Curious George.  I love that Curious George went on to become one of the most loved literary characters of the time – and ours!


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