Margarete Elisabeth Waldstein was born in Hamburg on May 16, 1906. She briefly met her future husband, H. A. Rey, when she was a young girl, but then left for Hamburg to study art. They were reunited in 1935 in Rio de Janeiro, where Rey had gone to escape the political climate in Germany. Margret convinced Hans to leave the family business, and soon they were working together on a variety of projects. Hans and Margret were married in Brazil on August 16, 1935, but they soon moved to Paris. It was there that Hans published his first children's book, after a French publisher saw his newspaper cartoons of a giraffe and asked him to expand upon them. Raffy and the Nine Monkeys was the result, and the debuted the mischievous monkey named Curious George. After Raffy and the Nine Monkeys was published, the Reys began a book of Curious George's own. Before the new manuscript could be published, the Reys, both German Jews, found themselves being forced to flee the Nazi occupation. From Lisbon, they made their way to Brazil and on to New York City, where they began a whole new life as children's book authors. Curious George was published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941. All the Curious George books, including the seven original stories by Margret and Hans, have sold over 25 million copies and are so popular that the original story has never been out of print. Margret Rey passed away in 1996, but not before establishing the Curious George Foundation in 1989, which gives money to children and animals.
Hans Augusto Rey was born on September 16, 1898 in Hamburg, Germany. He escaped to Paris with his wife after the Nazi's invaded. While in Paris, Hans's animal drawings came to the attention of French publisher, who commissioned him to write a children's book. The result, Rafi and the Nine Monkeys, is little remembered today, but one of its characters, an adorably impish monkey named Curious George, was such a success that the couple considered writing a book just about him. Their work was interrupted with the outbreak of World War II. As Jews, the Reys decided to flee Paris before the Nazis seized the city. Hans built two bicycles, and they fled Paris just a few hours before it fell. Among the meager possessions they brought with them was the illustrated manuscript of Curious George. The books were published by Houghton Mifflin in 1941. Curious George was an instant success, and the Reys were commissioned to write more adventures of the mischievous monkey and his friend, the Man in the Yellow Hat. They wrote seven stories in all. At first, Margret's name was left off the cover because there was a glut of women already writing children's fiction. In later editions, this was corrected, and Margret now receives full credit for her role in developing the stories. H. A. Rey died in 1977 and in 1989 Margaret Rey established the Curious George Foundation to help creative children and prevent cruelty to animals.