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Curious George Goes to the Hospital is the seventh and final book in the original Curious George series written and illustrated by Margret Rey and H. A. Rey and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1966. The book was written to ease the way for hospital-bound children.

Plot

George wakes up one day to find a box on the desk. Upon opening it, he pulls out a colorful jigsaw puzzle piece. He takes a puzzle piece out and mistakenly believes that the piece is candy. Maybe it was candy; and maybe he could eat it. And he inadvertently eats it. Before he knew it, he had swallowed it. Later, The Man with the Yellow Hat comes home and discovers that George has already opened the puzzle and tells George that the jigsaw puzzle was a surprise for him. Then they both proceed to work on it. Unfortunately, even though the puzzle might look finished, the last piece is missing. Then they try to find the missing piece, but give up for the night and head to bed. The next morning, George (not feeling well because he has a stomachache from the puzzle piece that he swallowed), he does not want to eat breakfast. So the Man calls the doctor. The doctor comes in and then examines him. When the doctor cannot find the problem (as he turns out to be no help), he recommends that the man should take George to the hospital.

Upon arrival at the hospital, a nurse takes George and The Man back, gives George something to drink. It is a medicine called barium. Then George is put on the x-ray table. The x-ray picture comes out. The picture from the x-ray shows George's body; and it shows the puzzle piece still lodged in George's stomach undigested (after he ate the puzzle piece the night before his checkup day in the hospital). When the doctor and the Man see the picture, the doctor notes that there is something there which must not be. The Man points out the answer; it was the puzzle piece which was missing from his and George's jigsaw puzzle. The doctor says, "At least we now know what is wrong with our little patient!". Then he explains to George and the Man how getting the puzzle piece out of his stomach is going to work. It turns out that it is a small operation. While George and the Man are waiting their turn, they run into a mother and her young daughter, Betsy, who is frowning, because this is her first time in a hospital and she is scared (and reluctant about the hospital too). George is then admitted to the hospital overnight, and is taken to the children's ward by a nurse named Carol, where he is given his temperature, his blood pressure, and a pill and a shot by different nurses to put him to sleep and is wheeled into surgery.

When he wakes up, he is groggy and neglects in the good news that the piece is out of him or of the book The Man has, and goes back to sleep. The nurse says that this will work, because the more he sleeps, the better.

When George wakes up the next morning, he is all better, has some ice cream, and is taken to the play room, where several children, including a still-frowning Betsy (but a little less sad though), have gathered. George meets a kid named Steve, who is in a wheelchair (called a "go-cart" in the book) with a broken leg who is going to try to walk later with his cast still on. At this point, George starts doing things that end up starting to break Betsy out of her funk. First, using all four limbs, he puts on a puppet show for the kids, which gets her to start smiling a bit. Next, he finds a record player, stands on the turntable, turns it on, and spins around faster and faster, until he flies off and luckily lands on a large pillow to cushion his landing. The kids laugh at it, and Betsy smiles again, until the nurse picks him up and takes him back to the children's ward to nap it off.

When he wakes up, all the kids and the nurse are diverted from him as Steve tries to walk. Noticing the wheelchair empty, George hops into it and wheels it out of the room. By the time the nurse notices it gone, George is already around the corner and heading down a steep ramp to the first floor right at a couple of attendants (including a mayor), pushing food carts. George luckily jumps off the wheelchair before it crashes into the carts, spilling food all over the place and damaging the dishes and wheelchair. When it becomes a big mess, all the attendants complain (saying, "YOU BROKE ALL MY DISHES!", and "HE RUINED THE GO CART!"). All the kids come out to see this accident happen, and the first one to laugh at it is Betsy. This gets everyone laughing, except George who begins to cry about his accident. Betsy sees this, and runs down the ramp to console George, and tells him this is what finally made her smile and be happy. The adults just agree to clean up the mess and be done with it. The adults tell George that he was not in trouble because he made Betsy happy, and the Man arrives to take him home. As they are about to leave, the nurse runs out with a little present for George to take home. Upon arrival home, George opens it and finds it to be the puzzle piece he swallowed, which they successfully put where it belongs to complete the picture. The Man happily says that now he and George can finish the puzzle. In the end, it is a picture of George in the puzzle with the Man's yellow hat.

Characters

Video

02_Curious_George_Goes_to_the_Hospital

02 Curious George Goes to the Hospital

16 mm stop-motion animated shorts were produced of two Curious George stories, Curious George and Curious George Goes to the Hospital in 1982, created with puppet-figures by noted animator John Clark Matthews (who later used a similar technique for his films of Frog and Toad).

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