The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey (1942)
The Poky Little Puppy
by Janette Sebring Lowrey (1942)

If you think about the books you read as a child, or have read to a child, Little Golden Books will pop into your head. These books were first published in 1942 and have become a staple on children's bookshelves. Little has changed with the books over the years, they still have the iconic gold spine, the brightly illustrated covers and educational and moral stories. Although they no longer sell for 25 cents - first edition copies easily go for over $100 - Little Golden Books are a sweet little piece of the literary pie.

Guy Duplaix, president of the Artist and Writers Guild, came up with the idea to produce inexpensive children's books that were durable. In September 1942, Duplaix worked with Simon & Schuster to publish the first 12 titles:

After only five months, the Little Golden Books were in their third printing with 1.5 million copies in print. The success rate was so high that George Duplaix took on another Little Golden Books division under Simon & Schuster called Sandpiper Press. Throughout the years, the Little Golden Books franchise worked together with various companies and introduced book and product joint packaging. An example of this is Doctor Dan, The Bandage Man, a book that was released with Johnson & Johnson Band-Aids glued to the title page. The first printing for this book was 1.75 million copies. In May, 1954, 2.25 million copies of Little Lulu and Her Magic Tricks were printed with a package of Kleenex tissues attached to the front cover.

Many well known authors and illustrators have worked on Little Golden Books. Among the most popular authors include Margaret Wise Brown - author of Good Night Moon, Richard Scarry and Tibor Gergely. Gergely was best known for his covers including The Little Red Caboose, Tootle, and Scuffy the Tugboat. According to Publishers Weekly, as of 2001, Tootle was the all-time third bestselling hardcover children's book in English behind the Tale of Peter Rabbit and The Poky Little Puppy, the leader.

As of 2002, over two billion Little Golden Books have been printed. Various formats of Little Golden Books have been created including, games, toys, videos, miniature books, and records. There is no denying the incredible impact these books have had on multitudes of people and their strong nostalgic appeal will ensure that they remain in print for years to come.

Little Golden Books

Bedtime Stories, illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren (1942)
Bedtime Stories
Illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren (1942)
Alphabet From A to Z by Leah Gale (1942)
The Alphabet From A to Z
by Leah Gale (1942)
Mother Goose by Phyllis Fraser (1942)
Mother Goose
by Phyllis Fraser (1942)
Prayers for Children by Mary Reed (1942)
Prayers for Children
by Mary Reed (1942)
Little Red Hen illustrated by Rudolf Freund (1942)
The Little Red Hen
illustrated by Rudolf Freund (1942)
Nursery Songs by Leah Gale (1942)
Nursery Songs
by Leah Gale (1942)
Baby's First Book by Garth Williams (1942)
Baby's First Book
by Garth Williams (1942)
The Animals of Farmer Jones illustrated by Rudolf Freund (1942)
The Animals of Farmer Jones
Illustrated by Rudolf Freund (1942)
Through the Picture Frame by Robert Edmunds (1944)
Through the Picture Frame
by Robert Edmunds (1944)
Doctor Dan the Bandage Man by Helen Gaspard (1951)
Doctor Dan the Bandage Man
by Helen Gaspard (1951)
Little Lulu and Her Magic Tricks by Marjorie Henderson Buell (1954)
Little Lulu and Her Magic Tricks
by Marjorie Henderson Buell (1954)
Nurse Nancy by Kathryn Jackson (1952)
Nurse Nancy
by Kathryn Jackson (1952)
Tootle by Gertrude Crampton (1945)
Tootle
by Gertrude Crampton (1945)
The Saggy Baggy Elephant by K & B Jackson
The Saggy Baggy Elephant
by K & B Jackson
Ukelele and Her New Doll by Clara Louise Grant (1951)
Ukelele and Her New Doll
by Clara Louise Grant (1951)
Lasso the Moon by Trish Holland (2005)
Lasso the Moon
by Trish Holland (2005)

Big Golden Books

The Fourteen Bears by Evelyn Scott (1973)
The Fourteen Bears
by Evelyn Scott (1973)
The Friendly Book by Margaret Wise Brown (1954)
The Friendly Book
by Margaret Wise Brown (1954)
The Great Big Fire Engine Book illustrated by Tibor Gergely (1950)
The Great Big Fire Engine Book
Illustrated by Tibor Gergely (1950)
Santa's Toy Shop by Al Dempster (1950)
Santa's Toy Shop
by Al Dempster (1950)

What was your favorite Little Golden Book growing up? - leave a comment:

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