Margret Rey

Margret Elizabeth Rey (May 16, 1906 – December 21, 1996) was a German-born American writer and illustrator, known best for the Curious George series of children's picture books that she and her husband H. A. Rey created from 1939 to 1966.

Margret Rey
Margret Rey with her husband, H. A. Rey
Margret Rey with her husband, H. A. Rey
BornMargarete Elisabethe Waldstein
May 16, 1906
Hamburg, Germany
DiedDecember 21, 1996 (aged 90)
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
OccupationWriter, illustrator
GenreChildren's literature
Notable worksCurious George
Years active1939–1966
SpouseH. A. Rey (1935–1977; his death)


Margarete Elisabethe Waldstein was born in 1906 in Hamburg, the daughter of Gertrude (Rosenfeld) and Felix Waldstein.[1][2][3] Her father was a member of the Reichstag. She studied art at Bauhaus in Dessau, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, and the University of Munich, and afterward worked in advertising. In 1935 she left Germany for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to escape Nazism – and to meet Hans Reyersbach, a salesman and another German Jew from Hamburg, who had been a family friend.[1] They married in 1935 and moved to Paris, France, in 1936.[4]

While in Paris, Hans's animal drawings came to the attention of French publisher, who commissioned him to write a children's book. The result, Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, is little remembered today, but one of its characters, an adorably impish monkey named Curious George, was such a success that the couple considered writing a book just about him. Their work was interrupted with the outbreak of World War II. As Jews, the Reys decided to flee Paris before the Nazis seized the city. Hans built two bicycles, and they fled Paris just a few hours before it fell. Among the meager possessions they brought with them was the illustrated manuscript of Curious George.

The Reys' odyssey brought them to the Spanish border, where they bought train tickets to Lisbon. From there they returned to Brazil, where they had met five years earlier, but this time they continued to New York City. The books were published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941, though certain changes had to be introduced because of the technology of the time. Hans and Margret originally planned to use watercolors to illustrate the books, but since they were responsible for the color separation, he changed these to the cartoon-like images that continue to feature in each of the books. (A collector's edition with the original watercolors was released in 1998.)[5]

Curious George was an instant success, and the Reys were commissioned to write more adventures of the mischievous monkey and his friend, the Man with the Yellow Hat. They wrote seven stories in all, with Hans mainly doing the illustrations and Margret working mostly on the stories, though they both admitted to sharing the work and cooperating fully in every stage of development. At first, however, Margret's name was left off the cover, ostensibly because there was a glut of women already writing children's fiction. In later editions, this was corrected, and Margret now receives full credit for her role in developing the stories.

Margret and her husband moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1963, in a house close to Harvard Square. Following her husband's death in 1977, Margret continued writing, and in 1979 she became a Professor of Creative Writing at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. From 1980 she collaborated with Alan Shalleck on a series of short films featuring Curious George and on more than two dozen additional books.

In 1989 Margret Rey established the Curious George Foundation to help creative children and prevent cruelty to animals. In 1996, she made major donations to the Boston Public Library and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. She was also a long-time supporter of the Longy School of Music.

Rey died of a heart attack on December 21, 1996.

Collected papers

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, holds more than 300 boxes of Rey papers dated 1973 to 2002.[1]

Dr. Lena Y. de Grummond, a professor in the field of library science at The University of Southern Mississippi, contacted the Reys in 1966 about USM's new children's literature collection. H. A. and Margret donated a pair of sketches at the time. When Margret Rey died in 1996, her will designated that the entire literary estate of the Reys would be donated to the de Grummond Collection.


  1. ^ a b c "H. A. Rey & Margret Rey Papers" Archived 2013-07-05 at the Wayback Machine. de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. University of Southern Mississippi. June 2001. Retrieved 2013-06-24. With Biographical Sketch.
  2. ^ "Monkey Business in a World of Evil". Rothstein, Edward. The New York Times. March 26, 2010.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Meister, Carol (2001). H. A. Rey. p. 12. ISBN 1-57765-481-1. OCLC 45413500.
  5. ^ H.A. Rey (1998). The Original Curious George (Collector's ed.). HMH Books. ISBN 978-0-395-92272-9. OCLC 39972712.

External links

Alan Shalleck

Alan J. Shalleck (November 14, 1929 – February 6, 2006) was an American writer and producer for children's programming on television, most known for his work on later Curious George books and the 1980s television shorts.

Shalleck studied drama at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York and went to work for CBS in the 1950s, eventually becoming an associate producer on the children's television series Winky Dink and You. In the early sixties he moved to Montreal where he produced "Like Young", at CFCF-TV, a highly successful teen music/dance show starring Jim McKenna that was eventually picked up and syndicated by Dick Clark Productions. Following his years at CBS, and CFCF-TV Shalleck was a producer at The Network for Continuing Medical Education and then formed his own production company (AJ Shalleck Productions) and produced a number of low-budget children's animated films and television episodes.

In 1977, he approached Margret Rey about producing a television series based on Curious George, which led to the 1980 television show. Shalleck and Rey wrote more than 100 short episodes for the series. In addition, they collaborated on a number of children's books and audiobooks. (Some of these books list Rey as the author and Shalleck as the editor, while others reverse the credits.)

In his retirement, Shalleck created the company "Reading By GRAMPS" and visited local elementary schools, bookstores, and other events to read books to children and promote literacy. However, he also experienced financial problems and was forced to supplement his income with part-time jobs. He most recently worked as a bookseller for Borders Books in Boynton Beach, Florida.

On February 7, 2006, a few days before the theatrical release of a Curious George motion picture, Shalleck's body was discovered, partially hidden, at his home in Boynton Beach, Florida, a victim of a robbery/homicide. His attackers were tracked down using the victim's phone records. They confessed to the crime.

On October 19, 2007, one of Shalleck's murderers, 31-year-old Rex Ditto, was sentenced to life in prison and is not eligible for parole. Ditto's co-defendant, Vincent Puglisi, was convicted of first-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon on June 24, 2008. He was sentenced in July 2008 to life in prison and is also not eligible for parole.

Curious George

Curious George is the protagonist of a series of popular children's books by the same name, written by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey with illustrations by Alan J. Shalleck. The books feature a chimp named George, who is brought from his home in Africa by "The Man with The Yellow Hat" as his best friend to live with him in a giant city.

When the first story, Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys was published in France in 1939, George was named Fifi. In the United Kingdom, George was originally called "Zozo" in 1941, apparently to avoid using the name of the then King George VI for a ape. Books featuring the adventures of Curious George have been translated from the original French into many other languages in addition to English. The books have been adapted into several television series and films.

Curious George (book)

Curious George is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey, and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941. It is the first book in the Curious George series and tells the story of an orphaned monkey named George and his adventures with the Man with the Yellow Hat.

Curious George (film)

Curious George is a 2006 animated adventure comedy film based on the book series by H.A. Rey and Margret Rey. It was directed by Matthew O'Callaghan, who replaced Jun Falkenstein. Ken Kaufman wrote the screenplay based on a story by him and Mike Werb. Ron Howard, David Kirschner, and John Shapiro produced. It was released on February 10, 2006 by Universal Pictures. It stars Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, David Cross, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, and Dick Van Dyke, with Frank Welker voicing the titular character. It was Imagine Entertainment's first fully animated film. The film also marks as the first theatrical film from Universal Animation Studios as it was released under Universal Feature Animation.

The film had been under development at Imagine Entertainment for a long time, dating back at least 1992, but it is possible that it was conceived years before. Although a traditionally animated film, it blends animation with computer generated, 3D scenery and objects that take up 20% of its environment. It features a musical score by Heitor Pereira, with songs produced by the musician Jack Johnson.

The film grossed $69.8 million from a $50 million budget and has a 69% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which calls it "a bright, sweet, faithful adaptation".

A television series based on the film premiered seven months later.

Curious George (franchise)

Curious George is a multi-media franchise based on the book series of the same name by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey. The series began with the 2006 theatrical release of Curious George. The film's success led it to receiving two direct-to-video sequels, a television series (which aired three specials during its run) as well as a video game.

Curious George Cottage

Curious George Cottage was the summer home of H.A. Rey and Margret Rey, creators of the Curious George series of children’s books, located in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire.

The Reys first came to Waterville Valley in the 1950s. Hans was revising his popular astronomy book The Stars: A New Way to See Them and needed a place away from the glare of city lights to do observation. Waterville Valley, an "inland island" surrounded by hundreds of acres of national forest, was the perfect location for stargazing and the many outdoor activities the Reys loved. They spent the next twenty summers there, and wrote several Curious George stories while in Waterville Valley.

The Reys’ cottage soon became an intellectual center for the town, hosting book clubs, discussion groups, and the opportunity to watch a children's author at work. Hans was known for his chalk talks, in which he would entertain visitors as he drew. Well-behaved children got to take a drawing home with them. At other times, he would take local children on nature walks, which often included conversations with imaginary people, thanks to his ability to throw his voice.

After the Reys died, the cottage was donated to the town of Waterville Valley. It is now managed by the Margret and H.A. Rey Center, dedicated to providing educational and recreational programs for children and families, including nature walks, literary groups, writers workshops, discussion clubs, a monthly lecture series, art shows, and activities for children. The center hosts regular astronomy nights under the same dark skies that first drew Hans Rey to the valley. All activities are open to the public.

Curious George Flies a Kite

Curious George Flies a Kite is a children's book written for beginning readers by Margret Rey, illustrated by H. A. Rey, and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1958. It is the fifth book in the original Curious George series and the only one the Reys did not write together.

Curious George Gets a Medal

Curious George Gets a Medal is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1957. It is the fourth book in the original Curious George series, and tells the story of George's flight into space. The story was published only weeks before the Soviets launched Sputnik II and Rey wanted to share his interests in space travel with children.

Curious George Goes to the Hospital

Curious George Goes to the Hospital is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1966. It is the seventh and final book in the original Curious George series, and tells the story of George's experiences in a hospital after swallowing a jigsaw puzzle piece. The book was written to ease the way for hospital-bound children.

Curious George Learns the Alphabet

Curious George Learns the Alphabet is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1963. It is the sixth book in the original Curious George series.

Curious George Rides a Bike

Curious George Rides a Bike is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1952. It is the third book of the original Curious George series and tells the story of George's new bicycle and his experiences performing with an animal show.

H. A. Rey

Hans Augusto Rey (born Hans Augusto Reyersbach; September 16, 1898 – August 26, 1977) was a German-born American illustrator and author, known best for the Curious George series of children's picture books that he and his wife Margret Rey created from 1939 to 1966.

List of fictional penguins

This list of fictional penguins is subsidiary to the list of fictional birds and is a collection of various notable penguin characters that appear in various works of fiction. It is limited to well-referenced examples of penguins in literature, film, television, comics, animation, and video games.

List of fictional primates in literature

This list of fictional primates in literature is a subsidiary to the articles of list of fictional primates and list of fictional animals. The list is restricted to notable non-human primate characters that appear in notable works of literature.

Mark London Williams

Mark London Williams is an American author, playwright, journalist, and creator of the young adult time travel series Danger Boy.

Pretzel (picture book)

Pretzel is a children's picture book written in 1944 by Margret Rey, illustrated by H.A. Rey and first published by Harper & Brothers.

Rey (surname)

Rey is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Abel Rey, French philosopher and historian of science.

Alain Rey, French linguist, lexicographer and radio personality

Alain Rey (ski mountaineer), Swiss ski mountaineer

Alejandro Rey, Argentine actor

Alexandre Rey (born 22 September 1972) a former Swiss footballer

Alvino Rey, American musician

Ana del Rey, Spanish actor

André Rey, French professional football goalkeeper

André Rey, Swiss psychologist

Anthony Rey, French Jesuit

Barret Rey, American college baseball coach

Émile Rey, (1846-1895) alpine mountain guide

Fernando Rey, the stage name of Spanish-born actor Fernando Casado D'Arambillet

Gabriel Venance Rey, French general of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars

Hans Rey, German cyclist

H. A. Rey and Margret Rey, authors of the Curious George series of children's books

Jean-Baptiste Rey (1734-1810), French conductor and composer

Lana Del Rey, American singer, songwriter, record producer, and model

Louis-Charles-Joseph Rey (1738–1811), cellist and composer.

Jean Rey (physician), French physician and chemist

Jean Rey (politician), Belgian Liberal politician, former president of the European Commission

Jean-Yves Rey, Swiss ski mountaineer

José Manuel Rey, Venezuelan football player

Julio Rey, Spanish marathon runner

Louis Emmanuel Rey, French general of the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars

Luis Rey, Spanish-Mexican artist and Led Zeppelin expert

Nicholas Andrew Rey, United States ambassador

Micheline Calmy-Rey, Swiss politician

Paola Rey, Colombian actress

Reynaldo Rey, American actor and comedian

Robert Rey, plastic surgeon and subject of Dr. 90210 reality television show

Tony Rey (musician), American guitarist

Willy Rey, Playboy Playmate of the Month, February 1971

Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Waterville Valley is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 247 at the 2010 census.Waterville Valley attracts many visitors in the winter months with alpine skiing at Waterville Valley Resort and many miles of trails for cross-country skiing. During the summer, attractions include a golf course, tennis courts, and a variety of hiking options. The Mad River flows through the town, providing great views all year round.

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