Furious George Goes Bananas

A Primate Parody
32p. 978-0-39925-433-8.
K-Gr 2 This "primate parody" from the creator of "Goodnight Goon" (2008) and "The Runaway Mummy" (2009, both Putnam) reworks Curious George as "a great big ape" who turns furious each time he gets a new job. While Rex's earlier titles drew laughs by adhering closely to the originals, this one takes a broader approach. It starts like the "Curious George" books when "a man in a funny hat" captures the creature in the jungle, but this man tries to get rich, selling the ape to a zoo, a construction foreman, and others. Each time the greedy guy pockets the cash, George gets angry and scares everyone away. When he's finally sold to a scientist for a trip to outer space, he traps his former owner and his money in the rocket ship, then hitches a ride on the outside of the craft and parachutes back home. Visual references to H. A. Rey's books, such as a bike crash and a balloon flight, are too subtle to have much impact, so the humor mostly depends on the repeated refrain of "George was furious!" and the accompanying spreads showing him wreaking havoc. Digitally colored cartoon pencil drawings capture the silliness but don't inject enough personality to raise the title beyond the one-joke concept. The clever title and the popularity of Rex's other books may draw interest, but without a more direct tie-in to the originals, this effort might make George's fans go bananas."Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
This takeoff on Curious George just doesn't work: its conceit that "the man in the funny hat" is out to exploit George (an ape, in this story) hasn't a shred of mooring in the original books. Rex's cartoony illustrations are so unlike those in the Reys' series, it's highly probable that young (and older) readers won't even make the connection.

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