UPDATED: April 23, 2012, at 11:55 p.m.
Curious George Books & Toys, a once-popular specialty store located at 1 JFK Street, reopened last Wednesday under new ownership.
Owners Adam S. and Jamie S. Hirsch have sought to reinvent the store, which has been a fixture in Harvard Square for decades, as a fresh and dynamic destination for tourists and residents of the Boston area.
As Harvard Square’s only independent children’s bookstore, Curious George Books & Toys carries books ranging from the Curious George series to “Twilight” to classics such as “Jane Eyre” and “Wuthering Heights.”
“We want to continue to get children of all ages excited about reading,” Adam Hirsch said.
In addition, the store also sells puzzles, toys, and children’s clothing with unique designs.
The owners have established ties with NBC Universal and Houghton Mifflin—the publishers of the Curious George series—to gain access to their brand and library of Curious George imagery.
The Hirsches have initiated a rebranding campaign for the store, which has included efforts to build its online presence, which Hirsch said he hopes will increase awareness of the store beyond Cambridge and across the globe.
“We’re going to be creating a lifelong relationship with our patrons,” Hirsch said.
According to Hirsch, the project has been a long time in the making. Over the past three months, the store underwent major renovations, including fully gutting the interior and revamping the store with higher ceilings and large windows.
Hirsch said that he had hoped to create a space that—while fun and whimsical—was also easy to navigate for parents with strollers.
“We want people to look at the store and say ‘wow,’” Hirsch said.
Today, the store is bright and airy with colorful murals and expansive windows overlooking Harvard Square.
Five panels along the walls of the store recount the story of Curious George’s history in Cambridge.
According to Hirsch, the authors of the series, H. A. and Margret Rey, spent the last forty years of their life in Cambridge after fleeing Nazi-occupied Germany and France. The idea for Curious George was born in Cambridge.