Sunday, March 26, 2006

Curious George a wimp?

Also in The Boston Globe, Christopher Shea considers a new study recently published in The Journal of Social History by Daniel Greenestone. Shea explains, "in 'Frightened George: How the Pediatric-Educational Complex Ruined the Curious George Series,' Greenstone suggests that the Reys lost faith in their original madcap vision and hitched George to psychological theories that viewed children as sensitive flowers and potential neurotics."

Interesting study! Shea wrote to Greenestone to ask why he began this study. Shea writes:
  • "Lest anyone think that Greenstone comes to this research project with an anti-George bias, he explains by e-mail from Taipei that George was his favorite stuffed animal as a kid. But while reading the series to his son (now 4) and daughter (now 2) he was struck by the shift in tone from the first to the last books and nagged by a question: Why did George become such a wuss? 'My essay,' he says, 'is an attempt to answer that question.'"

Greenestone found that not only did the Reys simplify the vocabulary in the Curious George books, but that they also took parenting theories of the day seriously--particularly ones that suggested children's worries need to be "validated."