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I have thought about Curious George way too much. We’re fans of the tv show over here, and I have spent more time than I care to consider trying to place accents, determining Professor Wiseman’s ethnicity (Jewish name, but does she look vaguely Indian?), wondering about whether she and the Man in the Yellow Hat have a “thing” going on (surely, yes?), and speculating as to how the Man in the Yellow Hat can afford a city apartment with a doorman and a house in the country when he seems to have no actual job (direct descendant of colonial oppressor?).

But mainly, I notice the interiors. Unlike so many shoddy kids shows, the folks who draw Curious George really care about details. George’s apartment sports crown molding in nearly all rooms and palm wallpaper I’m not wild about but that seems fitting for the inhabitants. The trim is always painted a darker color than the walls, George’s room has an iron bed with little birds on the corners, and both places have hard-wood floors. George’s country house boasts first-floor laundry, nice dormers, and a sun room off to the side.

In fact, the details are so lovingly rendered that anyone in the know could surely estimate the neighborhood, square footage, and appraised value for each. I bet The Man in the Yellow Hat is getting killed on his property taxes….

About a week ago, an episode ended up solving a long-standing toy storage problem for me. I’ve been looking at Simon’s toys all over my living room for ages now. We don’t have any kind of extra room on our first floor, and I don’t want all our toys in the basement or his bedroom when we spend so much time on the main floor. In particular, the vehicles are becoming an issue. I’ve got too many to fit in my big square basket, and the round bins don’t work well for this kind of toy. As a result, I’ve got cars/trains/buses/trucks stacked in a basket three deep and overflowing all the edges.

I feel there should be a simple enough fix, except I’ve honestly not been sure what the best storage item for all these vehicles is. Bins? Storage cubbies with fitted baskets or drawers? While I fidget and don’t decide, the place is getting over-run. Then lo and behold, Curious George went and solved the problem for me. Or, to be more precise, his neighbor Allie’s kindergarten teacher did.

George joined his neighbor for a day at school, and in keeping with the show’s attention to detail, the kindergarten room was extremely well organized, and not in an over-idealized Pottery Barn way either. I couldn’t see everything, but I did make out immediately neat little stacks of open cubbies with one vehicle per square. It looked great, and seemed an attractive and practical approach—more so than trying to hide everything away in raffia or in drawers that get stuck anyway.

So thanks PBS! While you teach my son about science, I’m learning a lot about interior design and household organization, too.

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