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A Lesson from Curious George for Bloggers

Posted By Darren Rowse 21st of February 2010 Writing Content 0 Comments

Curious-George.gifThe books of choice at bed time in my 3 year olds room are all Curious George books at the moment. He’s crazy for George.

Needless to say that the 6 Curious George books that we have are getting read again and again – I pretty much know them off by heart…. to the point that I’ve started taking less notice of the story itself and more notice of HOW its been written.

There’s one thing about Curious George Books (or at least the ones we have) that I’ve noticed that really makes them more engaging than some of the other kids books my boy reads.

Do you know what it is?

It’s something that draws my boy further and further into the book.

Any ideas what it could be?

It’s a technique that actually causes my little guy to ask me to turn the page – something that gets him thinking about what is coming next – something causes him to be curious – just like George.

What do you think it is?

This technique is not only a page turner – its something that draws my boy from being a passive listener/reader of the book – but actually gets him interacting with the book – talking about it as I’m reading.

Have you guessed what it is?

The technique is simple – on every second page there’s a question.

It’s not a question that needs an answer – but it’s a question that engages the person reading the book and draws them deeper into the story.

They are questions about what will happen next, questions about what the reader thinks or knows, leading questions that draw readers to keep reading but also to become engaged.

It’s a technique that is powerful not only in children’s books – but in all kinds of writing. Perhaps it’s something worth experimenting with in your next blog post.

If you do – I’d love to hear how it goes.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. That is a really good point Darren! We really need to think more about engaging our readers instead of just informing and entertaining them!

  2. Yes, engaging the reader is a great way to get them sucked into the story. Especially if your writing sales copy. Getting the reader to interact with your blog or website will dramatically effect the readers experience.

    Great post, I never would have thought you could learn so much from Curious George!

    -Paul Roekle

  3. You got me at Curious George. That brings back such childhood memories. What an original blog topic! I can’t agree more about asking questions because that’s true how it engages children. I think asking questions is natural for bloggers. We like to present the most thorough information we can, and doing that research answers most of those questions.

  4. Darren..
    This is what I think we should really think about. Idea is pretty simple but why such ideas never comes early.. anyways still its not late. I will try to implement it.

    Thanx for this post.

  5. My two year old loves her Curious George stuffed animal. Or, “brown monkey”, as she calls him (to distinguish from purple monkey)

    Good tip – I definitely need to use questions more.

  6. Hi Darren,

    Every word in stone, this concept of asking questions is also a very fundamental issue in philosophy. I especially like Karl Popper (an Australian like you by the way) who talked all the time about teaching through questions. He thought that a person’s curiosity is the strongest way make him think and learn.

    This of course is true for children and bloggers (who I think have a lot in common (-:).

    I open most of my posts with a question and also try and end them in the same way.

    Bee a Blogger | REAL-TIME Blogging Report

  7. Been thinking a lot about asking more questions lately.

    Not just questions about “what can I teach you next” … ’cause in a (big) way – that’s still all about me.

    But thoughtful questions, engaging questions, questions that are about the reader and allow them to shine.

    Hmm …

    Thanks George (and Darren!)

    Andrea Goodsaid

  8. Darren,

    My kids LOVE curious George!

    I never noticed the questions!

    Mike Stelzner

  9. I found myself laughing while reading this post. This is a helpful post. Thank you.

  10. Have to laugh. There is so much to learn from life. Even from a monkey named George. :)

  11. What a brilliant idea! And how sad it is that we have these ideas everywhere around us on a daily basis and yet rarely notice them…

    Thanks for noticing and sharing.


  12. That’s a good point. Even if you don’t expect a real answer, it’s good to pose well placed questions just to get the reader excited and thinking about the subject at hand.

  13. I think the trick of asking questions is been rehashed over and over again by everyone who has a ‘how to blog’ blog.

    However………..I think there are ways for bloggers to improve the questioning into more engagement instead of the ‘what do you think’ stuff.

    I’d like to see/read a few posts on how to use words to engage in questions. Maybe there is already some great posts someone could link up.

  14. Getting involved in blog is more important for any blogger. it is not been taken for just informing and entertaining. thanks for such a wonderful advice.

  15. Take care that you do not limit yourself. Many writers restrict themselves to what they believe they are able to do. Remember you can gothat far as your mind will let you.

  16. It’s amazing how there are lessons to be learned everywhere, but most are overlooked. I’m sure that all parents reading this post can relate. I’m also sure that most are running to the bedroom to take a look inside the Curious George books in a new light.

  17. i didnt realize that much , by the way . thanks a lot Darren.
    im looking forward to you

  18. Every morning I am watching The Curious George in my local TV :).
    Anyway, it’s really inspired..especially for newbie as myself.
    Thanks A Lot.

  19. I love it! Its a wonderful idea. What I might not agree with is having those questions in italic font, because somehow it gave me a wrong message. I almost thought those italics were a list of topics above its explanations (do I sound like I’m making any sense?). I almost gave up trying to understand the point of the article until I forced my lazy self to read through the article again. But like before, that’s probably only me.

    Anyways, good job, Darren!

    • Adib – you’re right, I wouldn’t normally put the questions in italics – I wouldn’t have used as many questions in a normal post either – just trying to emphasize a point.

  20. I often use questions In titles, to entice the reader in, but not so much in articles. Will have to try and incorporate them some more. Maybe that will get me more comments as well…

  21. That’s an interesting insight there Darren, thanks for sharing it…had no idea we could learn such stuff from a cartoon monkey :-)

    But besides just asking questions, I feel that other areas like the types of questions we should ask, when we should ask them & how often we ask also play an important role in the extent to which we engage our readers, wouldn’t you think so ? :-)

  22. I was just questioning life this morning. What is really improtant to me and my family. Too many times we get all wrapped up in the how and more importantly we need to ask ourself the question why.

  23. Great post! Posts like these are why I keep coming back to this site!

  24. Great observation. I like it! I’m stealing it! Who would have thought? It’s amazing what we can learn when we stop and see how it’s written. I should go grab my Dr. Seuss books, I think I can learn from Green Eggs And Ham. :)

  25. This is always right that as how your right and engage your viewers and this is a long term thing as well.

  26. I try to ask questions in every post, it is a powerful technique but it is more than that… it is the start (very beginning) of developing a blogging community.

  27. Too cute :) Now we know you are thinking about blogging all day, really!

    I write about being a Homegrown Mom on my site, and about the ministry of being a mom. I do a lot of tips and ideas, but I decided to share some of my personal story and how I “wasn’t always Homegrown.” I ended the first post in this series with a cliffhanger, I guess, though I didn’t really mean to. I got so many emails asking me when my next post would be! I also got some from women who identify with who I was back then and it has been a blessing.

    Anyway, I didn’t exactly ask a question, but left the readers asking questions. I’ve received more emails on these 2 posts than I have any other post I’ve ever written!

    You can read the first one here: http://homegrownmom.com/i-wasnt-always-homegrown/i-wasn%E2%80%99t-always-a-homegrown-mom/1188

  28. It’s unusual to hear blogging related to a children’s book but wow! That is a very awesome comparison. Getting the readers to desire to keep reading because they want to know the outcome — that just.. makes sense. It seems to simple that a lot of people over look that simple writing tool. I’m definitely starting to implement this more in my blog. Thanks for pointing that out Darren. As always, can’t wait for your next entry.

    -Matt Haughey

  29. Lol great post Darren, Me and he Missus are in Histerics at the mo as she thinks he looks Odd lol! sorry just had to comment on this!

    Saying that what you said about drawing the reader in is so true! Seems to me to be a very good skill to have! after what is a blog that no one reads or spends time reading?

    Thanks Darren

    -Phillip Dews

  30. Interesting a question…. I am just wondering would a question before very blog post work … need to work on and see …. nice thoughts…

  31. Nice tip Darren. I noticed in the blog, Blogging Without a Blog, the writer always ask questions at the end of her posts. It engages the readers into an interesting conversation about blog concepts.

    Recently, I have asked a question to my readers on whether or not their blogging struggles still bother them. It was a successful post. I think it’s all about diversity. Sometimes, you need to mix and match questions or no questions depending on what you are writing about.

  32. Hey Darren,

    Excellent tip and you certainly had drawn me in with all the questions in the post so one to try for sure.

    Thanks for another great idea,


  33. Ask thought provoking questions?
    Keep it simple?
    Insert How To’s?
    Add a dash of your own personality?

    Thank you Darren :)

  34. thanks darren :)

  35. This is an interesting thing that I will try. I would love it if you (or someone else who is commenting here) would analyze an existing blog post someone has written (or they themselves wrote) and show where they are asking the ‘curious’ questions that are engaging the readers in thinking about what will happen next.

  36. Will definitely try this out.

  37. This is really helpful, quite funny lol

  38. My two year old wakes up with “watch George!” on her lips. She’s more into the dvds when it comes to George, although loves her many books in general.

    Thanks for this idea. I can think of a few good ways to use it, particularly in my Inventing Elephants.blog.

  39. haha. Clever post. I’m going to try and work on this when writing my teasers.

  40. It’s a similar technique used by tower sales pages. You keep scrolling down just to see if they will give you at least one snippet of what’s really inside just to never ultimately find out.

    The way Curious George books ask a question every second page is the same way these scammy sites promise you hope.

    Only difference is that Curious George delivers.

  41. seraphina says: 02/21/2010 at 5:37 pm

    Curious George almost killed me! Would you think an innocent-looking monkey was capable of blowing this grain of sand into outer space (off the face of the planet)?

    Slight exaggeration. But truly, my fascination with curious George almost got me held back a grade in elementary school…the Principal thought I was retarded because I read these monkey books that were below my age level. Do you think I should contact that old Principal and show him my amazing GED and IQ scores?

    Now I reminisce of my love for George as I read one of his books to my two-year old. Is it a bad sign our toddlers are already fascinated with troublemakers at such an early age?

    I digress; for my true intent isn’t to ramble, but to ask a self-serving question…(but if you’ve read this far, might that possibly be because I’ve ended every paragraph thus far with a question?)

    My main question is: WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME if there’s a place on the net that will pay me to write for them, so I can start earning income ASAP?

    I’ve seen ads for such, but don’t want to get scammed. I’m no expert on anything, but love doing research and am kinda smart, so I know I could do it. Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a pool of folks wanting article submissions and I could choose which topic I wanted to write about?

    I really enjoy writing, and am actually fairly good at it. (Don’t let this quick post serve as my rèsumé, please.) However, I now see starting a blog won’t bring me instant moola. So if anyone knows any url’s or snail mail addresses of a legitimate business that would pay me if they choose to publish my submitted articles, I’d be forever grateful. Or should I just follow one of my dreams and write childrens’ books?

  42. Haha!!! That’s awesome!! I could tell you were doing it about 1/3 of the way through your post, and my suspicions were correct!!!

    I really love how you incorporated that into the post.
    Thanks for that bro. Keep it up!

  43. Awesome post Darren. I’ll definitely be giving that a try on my blog.

    Thanks for the tip.


  44. I read Curious George as a child and then read them to my kids when they were little, so I had to read your post out of… well, curiosity :)

    Anytime you can inspire thought and interaction, people with participate. Both kids and adults alike. :)

  45. Hi Darren,

    Thank you for pointing out the simplicity of looking at things through the eyes of children’s books.

    I need to try the idea of the questions more. Plus I think I might go and re examine my daughters books! :)


    Jacinta :)

  46. Hey, Darren. I’m glad you understand what I mean. For some reason, something seems to be wrong with italics. It’s like people don’t like reading in italics. Someone wrote a guest post for me, and in the beginning of his article was “a guest post by blablabla” in italics.


    A few people thought that I was the one who wrote the article. I felt quite ashamed so I tried changing the font style to bold italic.

  47. A question that engages readers and makes the interact with what their reading, I will definitely incorporate this on my Blog posts.
    Using their curiosity to enhance my Blog. . . that sounds good to me. Thank you for this info.

  48. A question that engages readers and makes the interact with what their reading, I will definitely incorporate this on my Blog posts.
    Using their curiosity to enhance my Blog. . . that sounds good to me. Thank you for this info. :D

  49. Ohh…man I love this post. You’ve managed to make us read, think and interact. So simple yet very powerful. I’ve never read curious George but I am now looking through my kids old books to see if they have them piled up somewhere.


  50. Thanks darren

    great lesson – when we surprise our customers with what we offer them there is always the element of curiosity that keeps them interested enough for you to present them with your product and make money.

    It is also the same thing when it comes to our curiosity with our competitors we want to know what they are up to and it always helps us better ourselves.

    kind regards


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