John J. Miller writes:
But the challenges of adapting Curious George are in fact a bit more complex. Earnest literary types have interpreted the first book as a barely disguised slave narrative. Have you considered that the man's weird outfit could be a send-up of a colonial officer's uniform? Or that George is brown and lacks a tail? (Lots of monkeys are brown and most species have visible tails.) Or that he is abducted against his will from Africa and brought across the sea to a foreign land where he engages in high jinks when the master is away?
This interpretation--surely the subject of many half-baked teacher-college lectures--was not on the mind of the Reys as they fled from the Nazis. Perhaps it is helpful to remember something that Margret once said of her books: "I don't like messages. . . . These are just stories."
Except that this isn't really true. The final Curious George book actually authored by the Reys--"Curious George Goes to the Hospital"--was written to convince children that they needn't fear the patient ward. It's closer in spirit to a plainly therapeutic book such as "The Berenstain Bears Go to the Doctor" than the original tale in its own series.
Even earlier than that, however, the books displayed a form of social consciousness: In the 1942 British edition, Curious George was renamed Zozo. The publisher objected to the monkey's name because George VI sat on the throne and, in London slang, "curious" meant "gay."