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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Piquing curiosity

2005: Johnny Depp starred as Willy Wonka in
2005: Johnny Depp starred as Willy Wonka in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." (Warner Bros. Pictures / The Spokesman-Review)

The debate raged over breakfast.

Did George float away with balloons or a kite?

“He floated away with the kite and the balloons,” my 5-year-old insisted, dragging out “The Complete Adventures of Curious George” to prove it.

With “Curious George” opening in movie theaters this weekend, one of the most recognizable characters in children’s literature is garnering renewed interest and not just at my house.

Curious George parties are scheduled at several of the Spokane public libraries in the next few weeks as librarians capitalize on the movie’s publicity.

“What we have found … is interest in these books just zooms,” said Sally Chilson, youth services coordinator for Spokane Public Libraries.

From “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to the more recent “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the movie versions “really bring up a lot of buzz about the books,” she said.

Though Chilson said that the demand for Curious George books is always high, “anything that raises the profile of books is good.”

The Curious George movie should appeal to kids as well as grownups who remember from their own childhood the little monkey who was always getting in trouble. Houghton Mifflin published “Curious George” in 1941, and, according to the company’s Web site, the original story is so popular it has never been out of print.

Have fun with George

Over the years, George has made the leap from the books to videos, computer games and, along with the big-screen release this week, to portable video game devices. But there are lots of low-tech George activities that can be downloaded for free from the Houghton Mifflin Web site. Dozens of files feature coloring pages, mazes, dot-to-dots, spelling and math worksheets and even a Curious George party kit. Check it out at

To get a taste of the digital fun that may flood the kid-tech market with the release of the movie, check out the official movie site at, which features an interactive game, a movie trailer and other activities.

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