Two books that have stood the test of time are Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) and H.A. Rey’s Curious George (1941). Both stories focus on the misadventures of animals too curious for their own good. The bigger difference besides one story focusing on a rabbit and the other a monkey, is the result of their curiosity which affects what kind of story is being told.
In Potter’s story, Peter goes off on his own to Mr. McGregor’s garden despite the warning by his mother. When he’s spotted by the farmer and chased, Peter becomes lost and can’t find his way home (Potter, 1902, p.31). He eventually escapes but only after being forced the abandon all the clothes his mother made in the effort. This book is classic that acts as a cautionary tale where failing to adhere a parent’s warnings might get you killed.
George’s adventure is less harrowing in Rey’s book but stresses that curiosity can make all kinds of trouble. The artwork is simple and George is adorably well drawn his shenanigans are purely accidental like when he tries the phone and calls the Fire Department who rush in to stop a false fire (Rey, 1941, p.32). George bounces into and out of situations he put himself into while The Man in The Yellow Hat helps him find where he belongs at the local zoo. The key difference is the tone, Peter’s journey is harrowing while George’s is primarily silly, but both can maintain a child’s interest by having them wonder how either character will get out of the mess they made. It teaches them that there are always consequences to be careful, otherwise they run the risk of being like Peter Rabbit or Curious George.