Curious George goes to the Beach could be used in Key Stage One, both for children to read independently and as a story book a teacher or classroom assistant could read aloud to a group of children. There is plenty of dialogue to keep the reader interested and engaged, whilst George as a character is likeable and mischievous. Words such as ‘binoculars’ and ‘lifeguard’ might be new to children and some would find these words challenging to read and so this would need to be taken in to consideration if children were reading on their own. There are, however, plenty of fun illustrations to give clues to the story and which add a further dimension of humour to the book.
The story follows the monkey George visiting a beach with a friend and meeting Betsy and her grandmother along the way. George has lots of fun at the beginning of the story; he plays games, digs in the sand and makes friends with the birds around him. This brilliantly introduces the beach as a fun place to visit with lots to do. The book, therefore, could be used in inner city schools with children that might only have visited the beach once or twice or not at all. It might also be read to a group after the summer holidays. The teacher could ask if any children had visited a beach in their break and where that was.
The importance of being a good supportive friend is a key theme in the book. Betsy can barely smile at George when she meets him because she is so frightened of going in the water. George reassures his frightened friend that she is a good swimmer and that there is nothing to worry about and in the end Betsy is playing happily in the water. Children can relate to this example of friendship and might be asked to think of a time when they supported a friend when they didn’t feel very confident and how that might have helped their friend.
Bravery is another thread in the story. Betsy showed bravery in eventually venturing into the water and overcoming her fear. George also shows bravery when he dramatically swims far into the water to reclaim their picnic basket that has been washed out to sea. Children might be asked to think about what being brave means and a time when they were brave themselves.
Curious George goes to the Beach is part of a series of Curious George books that are fun interesting reads and offer lots of themes for discussion with children.
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