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Curious George


I am a good Amazon.com customer. Each time I purchase books, especially books in English, I visit the homepage and click the purchase button. Sometimes, I just surf the web site to find amusing books and order them. Consequently, my room has turned into a garden of Amazon books: Little House series, Peter Rabbit series, Anne of Green Gables series, books by Roald Dahl and pop-ups by Robert Sabuda. I’m an aficionado of children’s books. Recently, a new face has arrived: Sue Grafton’s detective stories.


Last month, I was hunting as usual for a new flower to plant in my garden through Amazon. Accidentally, I again met a dear old friend, Curious George. I greeted him: “Long time no see, how are you doing?” For the first time in over 20 years, I was reunited with George.


I met him when I was a small child. My mother, who believed that reading books stimulated children’s brains, introduced him to me. Thanks to her, I became a girl always with a book. Although I am not sure that those books stimulated my brain, they no doubt amused me. Among precious children’s books, I most adore the H. A. Ray series, Curious George. When I was grown up, my mother sometimes complained that I was always urging her to read George, which had sometimes exhausted her. I do not at all remember her getting tired out. However, I do clearly remember George.


In my memory, George was all but mischievous. He fed the animals in the zoo. He flew in the sky while holding a bunch of balloons. He tried to put on his friend’s big yellow straw hat. He happened to call the fire station.


George was truly troublesome, and that is why I was so attracted to him. George always gave me an air of superiority. I could believe that I did not behave as badly as he did.


I missed him and wanted to meet George again. The moment I felt so, I put some of his books into my net cart. I had already read them in Japanese when I was a little kid, but this time, I could read them in English. Like a child awaiting Santa Claus, I had to wait for the arrival of my order. A few days later, I was glued to George’s stories.


George was as mischievous as ever, and he was as cute as ever. There was nothing new about the stories. However, I noticed his hidden character: George was a good little boy, bringing happiness to everybody. This George was different from the George who used to give me a sense of superiority to a little child. I realized I had been wrong. What made him attractive was not his waywardness but his goodness.


For example, surely against a ban, he fed the animals in a zoo. When he learned he was not supposed to share his food with the animals, from the bottom of his heart he regretted doing so. When a zookeeper asked him to help her return a runaway parrot from his home, he did so to compensate for his misdeed. He also fixed the netting of the parrot’s cage. Here is another example. When George went to the winter sports competition with his friend, he tried to sled, invaded the raceway, and crashed into a skier during the race. But in another race, George gathered attention from many people watching and cheered the skier with the huge crowd. After winning the race, the happy skier got an energetic applause.


Poor George. I’m terribly sorry. I had misunderstood him for a long time. I should have noticed that every book starts with: “This is George. He is a good little monkey and always very curious.”


Let me excuse myself. Looking back now, I find I just envied him. For me, a rather quiet and shy girl, he was a boy living in an adventurous world. In the depth of my soul, I must have wanted to take part in adventures like him. Because I was extremely shy, and because I was an older sister required to be good, I did not have the courage to enter a risky world.


The other day, I told my mother that I was reading the Curious George series again. She smiled without making any complaint.

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