Monthly Book Club: Curious George Goes To The Hospital

This month’s post on books features a character most of you know, especially if you work with children. Curious George is a little monkey who lives with The Man With The Yellow hat and goes on many adventures which usually involves him getting into a least a bit of trouble because he is so curious.

In the book Curious George Goes To The Hospital, by Marget and H. A. Rey, George is taken to the hospital due to having swallowed a puzzle piece. George gets to see many sides of the hospital from the x-ray machine that finds the puzzle piece in his stomach to the operating room where they take the puzzle piece out. As a child, I always loved reading this story because it showed the different aspects of the hospital in an not so intimidating light, plus the antics of George always made me laugh. As an adult, I still like the story and sometimes use it in therapeutic activities to show kids the types of experiences they might have and use it help start a discussion on ways to cope during a medical experience. One of my favorite activities for this book is first reading it to the children and then having them act out with puppets the different stress points that George experienced and ways he could decrease his stress. Here’s an example of my own puppets that I made for the kids to use:

Curious George Puppets

In the activity I divided the kids into groups and gave each group a stress point: going to the doctor, getting an x-ray, the operation, and so forth. Each group was then asked to use the puppets to act out what the experience was like for George. This activity was perfect for the younger elementary school kids, though it could be a tougher sell for the older kids who might feel that they are too mature for Curious George.

If you do use this book, I would recommend you keep in mind that the book was written in 1966, so some of the experiences George has isn’t necessarily true now. For example, most patients do not stay in a ward with other patients, instead each one has their own room or shares a room with one other roommate. This doesn’t include neonatal intensive care units (NICU) where there are often multiple infants in one room. Also parents generally stay with their child overnight in the hospital. Therefore as you read this book to your little ones, make sure that they understand that some things are different now, especially if you’re using the book to prepare your child for his or her own trip to the hospital.

Book Snapshot

Title: Curious George Goes To The Hospital

Author: Marget and H. A. Rey

Subjects: Hospitalization, Patients, Feelings

Ages: 4-8

Therapeutic Value:
Sequence of Events
Language Development
Emotional Development

Questions to ask while reading:
What was it like for Curious George to go to the hospital?
How did you feel when you were in the hospital (Or how do you feel about being in the hospital)?
What was easy for Curious George when he was in the hospital? What was hard?
What things would help Curious George not be sad or afraid?
What do you like/not like about the hospital?

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