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Little Golden Books

Cover: Child in a box pointing to his toesTwo children reading from a prayer book.

Very few people in the United States are unaware of Little Golden Books. The best selling children's picture book of all time is The Poky Little Puppy, one of the original twelve titles published by Western Publishing in 1942. Since then, Little Golden Books have made history.

Prior to 1942, children's books were too costly for most middle-class families, reserved for a privileged few. With the publication of the Little Golden Books, children could own their own books, as signified by the familiar "This book belongs to_____________" that is found on the inside cover of every Little Golden Book title.

Affordability and accessibility were key factors to the overwhelming success of the Little Golden Books. Not only were the books sturdy and high quality, they were ubiquitous. Found in supermarkets, department stores, toy stores, children were exposed to the titles everywhere.

Authors and illustrators of Little Golden Books read like a "Who's Who" of children's literature: Margaret Wise Brown, Richard Scarry, Tibor Gergely, Leonard Weisgard, Gustaf Tenggren,and Jeanette Sebring Lowry (author of The Little Poky Puppy). There were twelve original titles, all the same size, sturdy and colorful, and bearing a price tag of 25¢.

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection possesses 700 Little Golden Books, with varying titles and editions. To search for the Little Golden Books, go to http://catalog.lib.usm.edu. Do a search for Little Golden Books and narrow the search to McCain Library & Archives.

To view This Little Piggy ( PZ8.3.C36 Thi 1942b), Prayers for Children (BV265 .D39x 1942a), or any of the Little Golden Books, visit the 3rd floor of McCain Library. For more information on these books, contact Ellen Ruffin at Ellen.Ruffin@usm.edu or 601.266.4349.

 

For more information on Little Golden Books:

Marcus, Leonard. Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children's Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way. New York: Random House, 2007.

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Text by Ellen Ruffin, Curator of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
E-mail:ellen.ruffin@usm.edu