Did you grow up with Little Golden Books?
This October, the iconic brand celebrates 75 years!
In October 1942, the New York publishing firm Simon & Schuster, the Artists and Writers Guild, and the Western Printing and Lithographing Company of Racine, Wisconsin, joined forces to create a new series of children’s books especially suited to beginning readers between the ages of 3 and 8. Inexpensive, sturdy, and child-centered, Little Golden Books represented an enormous shift in thinking about how, where, and what children should read.
High-quality, lavishly illustrated children’s books of the early 20th century were too expensive for most families to own, and generally only available in libraries and schools. When Little Golden Books were introduced, they could be purchased at bookstores and department stores. After World War II, Simon & Schuster launched a new marketing plan that featured specially designed display units and began selling books in five-and-dime chains, groceries, and drugstores. Brightly colored and priced at only 25 cents, Little Golden Books were designed to be financially and intellectually accessible to all children.
— The Smithsonian
Along with well-known titles (The Poky Little Puppy, The Shy Little Kitten, Scuffy the Tugboat and books based on popular children’s television shows), the early years also included books like:
Two Little Miners (1949), illustrated by Richard Scarry, just one in a series of books about occupations.
Gaston and Josephine (1949), illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky, the story of two pigs that leave their homeland and sail to America.
Doctor Dan the Bandage Man (1950), illustrated by Corinne Malvern, followed in 1952 by Nurse Nancy.
Sorry, readers, there were no Doctor Nancy or Nurse Dan books in the early years. But Golden did publish this book for girls and boys, also illustrated by Corinne Malvern,
Susie’s New Stove (1950).
Golden Books have come a long way since the 1940s and 50s. More about that in a future post.
But in the meantime, take the Little Golden Books quiz by Lorna Seilstad on the Inkspirational Messages site.
Let’s see how well you remember Little Golden Books.
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