Curious George Goes to the Hospital

Curious George Goes to the Hospital
First edition
Author H. A. Rey
Margret Rey
Country United States
Language English
Series Curious George
Genre Children's literature
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
Media type Print
Preceded by Curious George Learns the Alphabet 

Curious George Goes to the Hospital is a children's book written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1966. It is the seventh and final book in the original Curious George series, and tells the story of George's experiences in a hospital after swallowing a puzzle piece (from a jigsaw puzzle).

The book was inspired by employees at the Boston Children's Hospital, who reached out to the Cambridge-based Reys to ask for help children prepare for going to the hospital.[1]


George wakes up to find a box that says "surprise" on the desk, which is a jigsaw puzzle with around two dozen (24) pieces. George simply had to open it. He took one out and it looked like a piece of candy. Thinking it is a piece of candy, he (unsuccessfully) eats a colorful puzzle piece. The Man with the Yellow Hat comes home and (at first, not knowing that George had eaten a puzzle piece before he got home) tells George that the jigsaw puzzle was a surprise for him. They both work on it. Finally, the puzzle was almost "finished", except for the missing piece. Unable to find the other missing piece (and unable to finish the puzzle), they go to bed.

The next morning, George has a stomachache (from swallowing the puzzle piece the night before) and is too sick to eat his breakfast. Worried, The Man (still not knowing that George had swallowed a puzzle piece; which he had been wondering all night why the last piece from their jigsaw puzzle had gone missing) calls the doctor (Dr. Baker). Dr. Baker tries to find the problem, but the doctor turns to be no help, so he recommends that George should go to the hospital.

The Man reassures George at the hospital, saying "Don't worry. You have been here when you broke your leg" (what he states is a reference to the other previous book from the Curious George classic series books; Curious George Takes a Job). George is given a barium meal from a nurse down a long hallway. Then, he goes to the x-ray room. Even though George had thought that he would get an apron like the doctor and the Man, he did not. After the x-ray is over, the x-ray picture shows the undigested puzzle piece lodged in George's stomach when he swallowed the piece the night before (after the doctor says that there must be something with the patient George which should not be). The doctor and the man look at the printed document from the x-ray and later discover the (unsuccessfully) eaten puzzle piece. The man (who looks at the picture and discovers the puzzle piece) says that it was the puzzle piece missing from their jigsaw puzzle and was why he and George were unable to finish the puzzle the night before (saying, "That must be the puzzle piece which was missing from our jigsaw puzzle yesterday!"). Now the Man finally knows that George had swallowed the puzzle piece all along (which is why George had a tummy ache all this time since morning). He had a tummy ache the whole time (which is why he did not want to eat his breakfast that morning) and now the Man and the doctor finally noticed it when they took him to the x-ray. The doctor says that he at least knows it is clear exactly what is wrong with George. He then explains that since that is what is wrong with George, a small operation is needed to remove it. He reveals out that a tube is needed to take the puzzle piece out of George's stomach.

Later, George is admitted to the children's ward waiting room where they meet Betsy and her mother. Betsy is scared because this is her first time in a hospital. She did not want to go to the hospital. George meets a nurse named Carol, who takes him to the children's ward where George’s temperature and blood pressure are recorded, and he is given a pill and a shot to put him to sleep then wheeled into surgery. After surgery, George is groggy and does not want to read a new book about a dog the Man has, and goes back to sleep.

When George wakes up feeling better the next morning, he has some ice cream. As for Betsy, still not liking the hospital and watching George, she seems a little less sad. A boy named Steve in a wheelchair (called a "go cart" in the book) who has a broken leg, says that tomorrow he will be able to walk again, pleased about the news, George continues eating his ice cream. The next morning, George is then taken to the play room where he starts doing things to break Betsy out of her sadness. He puts on a puppet show, then stands on a turntable and spins around until he flies off. The kids laugh and Betsy smiles. A play lady picks up George and returns him to the children's ward for a nap, she also explains that the mayor is going to visit the hospital, and later, he will be going home.

When George wakes up from his nap, he sees that Steve is trying to walk. With no one looking, George hops into his wheelchair and races down the corridors. By the time the nurse notices, George is heading down a steep ramp towards a hospital cafeteria. There, a couple of attendants are seen pushing food carts and a mayor is shown around the hospital. George crashes into the carts (and lands in the mayor's arms), spilling food (spinach, scrambled eggs, and strawberry jam) and breaking the wheelchair and the dishes (which makes the attendants complain; one about the dishes says, "YOU BROKE ALL MY DISHES!" while another as for the wheelchair says, "HE RUINED THE GO CART!"). The kids see the accident and the first to laugh is Betsy. This gets everyone laughing except George who cries, thinking he might be punished. Betsy consoles George, telling him this is what finally made her smile and be happy. The mayor tells George that even though he made a terrible mess, he also made the sad little Betsy happy. The adults agree George is not in trouble because he made Betsy happy, and the Man arrives to take him home. Then the adults say goodbye to George and remind him to "take care of himself".

As they are about to leave, everybody (including Betsy and Steve) waved goodbye through the windows and Nurse Carol gives George a present to take home. At home George finds it to be the puzzle piece he swallowed. The Man (after George unwraps the paper and opens the gift box that held the puzzle piece) sees it was the last missing piece. He is happy that the doctor and nurse had saved it for them. Then the Man (about the puzzle) says, "So now, we can finish the puzzle!". Now able to finish the puzzle, they complete the puzzle (placing the last missing piece; which is in the center of the jigsaw puzzle). In the end, the now-completed puzzle reveals to be a picture of George on the grass of the jungle with the Man's yellow hat in front of him.

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