Curious George’s First Words at the Aquarium by H.A. Rey – Book Review

Curious George's First Words at the Aquarium by H.A. ReyThe Boston Public Library’s childrens’ reading room is named after Margaret and H.A. Rey, so it is no surprise that the room has a large collection of books about Curious George.

On our most recent trip to the library, Arya and I found an obscure book that does not appear on any standard list of the most popular Curious George books.

Curious George’s First Words at the Aquarium by H.A. Rey is an unusual book that is terrific only under limited circumstances.

Unlike other Curious George books, First Words at the Aquarium has no storyline. Text is limited to single words identifying objects and animals commonly found at an aquarium. With no dialogue and sparse text, the book is impossible to read. Rather, it is designed for adults to teach new vocabulary to children.

All of the words are relevant to a visit to the aquarium. While some like “ocean” or “seal show” describe items in an aquarium, the vast majority of words are simple the names of aquatic animals.

Despite the lack of a text plot, the pictures tell a story about Curious George and his visit to the aquarium. Each page shows George engaged with different exhibits at a generic aquarium. Like all Curious George books published after the death of H.A. Rey, Curious George’s First Words at the Aquarium uses the familiar monkey as a pretext for a extremely basic book.

My baby did like the pictures although she was quickly bored halfway through the book. For children about to visit a real life aquarium, First Words at the Aquarium provides a useful introduction. Older kids who are interested in ocean life will also appreciate the book. For all other children, many other Curious Geroge books will provide more entertainment.

Curious George’s First Words at the Aquarium is no longer in print. Used copies are still available for under $4 (including shipping) from Amazon.