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Little Golden Books: A Treasury of Children's Literature

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Little Golden Books - The Poky Little Puppy cover art
Random House
Little Golden Books are among the first books I remember. I enjoyed them as a child, my children enjoyed them, and now my grandchildren enjoy them. While certainly they have changed over time, many of the classic Golden Books from decades ago are available again, and many people have taken to collecting the early Little Golden Books.

Little Golden Books: History

How did it all start? The history of the company that ultimately published Golden Books goes back to West Side Printing Company in Racine County, Wisconsin. The first Golden Books were published in 1942. Initially, twelve different, 24-page, books were published. While the cover art varied, all the books were the same small size, hardbound, with like binding, and a price tag of 25¢. A timeline of Golden Books history stretches over 60 years and more than two billion Little Golden Books printed!

Little Golden Books: A Success Story

The success of the first Little Golden Books ensured the publication of others. According to Steve Santi's book Collecting Little Golden Books (compare prices) there are hundreds of different Little Golden Books that have captured the hearts of young children (and adults). The list of authors and illustrators who have been involved in Golden Books reads like a "Who's Who" of children's literature. It includes Margaret Wise Brown, Jeanette Sebring Lowrey, Mercer Mayer, Gustaf Tenggren, Eloise Wilken, Richard Scary, Garth Williams, Tibor Gergely, and a myriad of Disney artists. more than two billion Little Golden Books printed!

Little Golden Books: Bestsellers

Publishers Weekly's list of children's hardcover bestsellers from the date of publication through 1995 illustrates the popularity of the books. Little Golden Books occupy five of the top six places, with The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey in first place. It was published in 1942 and by 1995, 14,000,000 copies had been sold in domestic sales. In third, fourth, fifth, and sixth places respectively were Tootle by Gertrude Crampton (8,055,500), The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson (7,098,000), Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton (7,065,000), and Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt (6,146,543). While Pat the Bunny is for babies on up, the other books are popular with children from about two to seven years old. I am delighted to report that these and other classics are still available from Golden Books.

Locating a Favorite Little Golden Book When You Can't Remember the Title

One of the most frequent requests I get is for help in locating favorite Golden Books. The people who contact me are usually quite frustrated because they can remember the plot or a character, but they can't remember the name of the Little Golden Book they loved as a child. I found a great resource when I was searching. It's the Collecting Little Golden Books Forum, which is named after the book of the same name by Steve Santi that I mentioned above. You have to register to post a question, but I received a very speedy response from Steve himself when I was helping someone locate a Golden Book for which we only knew the name of the main character. I did find one thing confusing. Sometimes when you click to go to a new page on the site, it looks the same as the previous page until you scroll further down.

Golden Books Today

In 2001, Golden Books launched its Little Golden Books Classic line, reprinting old favorites on the basis of popular demand. Some of my favorite classic Little Golden Books now available are The Good Humor Man, The Poky Little Puppy, Seven Little Postmen, and The Shy Little Kitten.

Golden Books is now part of Random House Children's Books. Some of Random House Children's Books imprints include Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, Bantam Books for Young Readers, Random House Books for Young Readers, and Yearling Books. It's wonderful to still be able to find favorite Little Golden Books.

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