Curious George Gets a Medal
|Author||H. A. Rey|
|Preceded by||Curious George Rides a Bike|
|Followed by||Curious George Flies a Kite|
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.
George makes a mess with ink and a fountain pen and tries to wash it away with the garden hose, but the room fills with water (flooding the room) and he rushes to a nearby farm to get a portable pump and get rid of the flood with it. He is chased by the farmer but eludes him by hiding in a shirt on a clothes line and then jumping into a pickup truck headed for the museum (which turns out to be a science museum). George inadvertently makes another mess in the science museum with a dinosaur exhibit (with life-sized model/animatronic dinosaurs). The two dinosaurs are a mother Stegosaurus and a baby Stegosaurus. Then, he caught sight of a palm tree that had nut-like fruit growing on it (nuts; possibly coconuts). George loves nuts. Suddenly, he is hungry because he has missed lunch. A family comes into the dinosaur exhibit to also see the dinosaurs. George (touching the dinosaur) uses himself as a model. The family (who saw George touching the dinosaur) thinks George is another stuffed animal (or model animal) by looking at his pose on the dinosaur. That is, or in other words: "they think it's a model monkey with a model dinosaur".
After the family is gone, George (not really a model but a real monkey) is happy when the people were gone. So now, he could pick the nuts (the "coconuts") and eat them. He climbs onto the mother dinosaur's head and starts to pull. But when he tries to pick the nuts, the nuts do not come off (as he did not know that the nuts are a model and not real like the rest of the displays in the other exhibits). Thinking they are real, he pulls harder and harder, and then the tree begins to sway. With a big crash, although the coconuts successfully come off, the tree falls down onto the mother dinosaur's head. The mother and baby dinosaurs fall, the dinosaur exhibit collapses into a wreck, and down and down comes George.
The guards of the science museum become surprised and then they catch George as they find him underneath the fallen dinosaurs. The museum guards then report about the incident to the museum owner, Professor Wiseman. Professor Wiseman, is terribly angry and surprised. Angry and surprised, he proceeds that the museum guards (after they have caught George) should "lock the naughty monkey this instant and send him back to the zoo". The Man with the Yellow Hat stops the guards with a letter from the mailman to show them. The letter says that Professor Wiseman wants him to go up in a space ship and then bail out. George agrees and is given a tiny space suit. At the critical moment, it is uncertain whether George will jump or not, but he does and the experiment is a success. George is carried to Earth by a parachute and is awarded a medal.
- Rey 2001, unpaged Introduction
- Ham the Chimp, the chimpanzee who became the first higher primate in space in a similar mission in 1961.