My wife picked up a copy of our dearly loved little monkey from a children’s resale show recently and we excitedly gathered around for the initial read. They sat perfectly still, ears listening to every word, eyes memorizing the smallest detail of the illustrations. We read together the story of George Taking a Job. Window washing a tall skyscraper was eye-opening. Reading about George imagining furniture looking like wild animals was exhilarating. But when he fell out of the window and ended up in the hospital I was surprised and shocked as I turned the page…
George experiments with knock-out gas and has his first drug trip?!?!?!
I was stunned, but played it cool and quickly turned the page. The advantage was mine since my kids had never heard this story before, so they could not tell if I was skipping any words. But they could not contain their glee at seeing the picture on the next page…
George had to be resuscitated in the shower?!
I don’t know when this book was written, or what lessons about curiosity this is supposed to teach. But, curiously enough, when we got to the George Takes a Job episode on Netflix…George never went to the hospital. I’m telling you no lies.
In preparation for this post, I also decided to do a little research. Wikipedia just lays it out there matter of fact.
“He recovers in the hospital, but tampers with a bottle of ether and is overcome by the fumes. The man with the yellow hat and a nurse waken him with a cold shower.”
What surprised me more though, were the reviews on Amazon. Only ONE person mentioned this little episode of getting high. While other people had problems with the book presenting curiosity as a negative thing. Wait, what?! Or maybe they just had their hands on the newly edited version. Here are some reviews:
“The illustrations seem to say more than the words.”
“My 2 year old sister likes them too.”
And fittingly, “I was hooked.”
Not surprising though is that the first edition of this book is number 23 on the list of most valuable first editions of children’s literature. It is worth anywhere between $1,400 and $2,400 probably for what other things it contained that have since been redacted…