Children's books fascinate me. They make me happy. So, when I travel it is probably no great surprise that I like to stop in children's book stores to check out my favorite titles written in languages other than English.
But sometimes my proclivities can cause my traveling companions some embarrassment.
For instance this exchange in a book store in Rome.
Gary: Parlate inglese?
Guy at Counter: A little.
Gary: Do you have Curious George?
Guy at Counter: (stares blankly, clearly confused)
Gary: (attempting to clarify) The monkey.
Guy at Counter: Mon-key?
Gary: (deciding that I will give sign language a go as the sign for monkey must be universal especially if I add in some sound effects, which I do).
Guy at Counter: (steps back in fright as I scratch under my arms and jump around noisily. He is clearly appalled and closes the shop shortly thereafter).
I never found Curious George in Italian.
I had better luck in Switzerland.
German speaking Zurich is very kinder-friendly! At every turn there are postings for some kinder related activity. The drum playing teddy bear directed us to the Kinder Musik Laden (children's music shop) and we stumbled upon an outdoor performance by Kinderzirkus Robinson (children's circus with Robinson the clown!).
At the Zurich bookstore I was shown the Curious George books without my theatrics. Although in German he is called Coco, as in Coco Fahrt Rad (which seems to literally translate to Coco drive wheel but better known here as Curious George Rides a Bike).
They had many of my favorite titles;
- Der Kleine Prinz - The Little Prince
- Wo Die Wilden Kerle Wohnen - Where the Wild Things Are (or directly translated as Where the Wild Guys Living).
- Wo Ist Walter Jetzt? - Where is Walter (Waldo) Now?
I purchased Coco Der Neugierige Affe (Coco the Curious Monkey) and have attempted to read it but I think my German comes across as too angry and intense for children. Some things are best enjoyed privately I suppose.