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Friday, March 11, 2011

Little Golden Books - Trip Down Nostalgia Lane

All right, life is super hectic now with buying a new house, a book deadline for April 1st, and a new baby due in 4 weeks. So, Lorna Seilstad over on Inspirational Messages gave permission for one of her recent blogs to be reposted. I enjoyed it so much, and she graciously agreed for it to be shared.

Growing up, I think all of us had favorite books. Some of Lorna’s—and mine—were Little Golden Books. In honor of those wondrous little books, I wanted to share the quiz Lorna posted on her blog not long ago. Grab a sheet of paper and write down your answers. You can check them because the answers are at the end. Let me know how you did.

1. In what year did Little Golden Books first hit the shelves?

a.) 1936
b.) 1942
c.) 1950

2. Who published Little Golden Books?

a.) Simon & Schuster
b.) Scholastic
c.) Penquin

3. Which of the following books were one of the original twelve titles released?

a.) The Poky Little Puppy
b.) Old McDonald’s Farm
c.) The Three Bears

4. How much did Little Golden Books originally cost?

a.) 25 cents
b.) 50 cents
c.) $1.00

5. Which Little Golden Book came with a bandage glued to the right side of the title page?

a.) The Good Samaritan
b.) Nurse Betty and the Hospital Visit
c.) Dr. Dan, The Bandage Man

6. In the 1950’s, many top-selling Little Golden Books centered around what topic?

a.) The space program
b.) Popular television shows
c.) Disney characters

7. In what year was a permanent exhibit created for Little Golden Books at the Smithsonian

a.) 1982
b.) 1992
c.) 2002

8. Which Little Golden book has become controversial and is also one of the most valuable to collectors?

a.) The Tawny Scrawny Lion
b.) My Little Golden Book About God
c.) Little Black Sambo

9. How can you tell if your Little Golden Book is a valuable first edition?

a.) A letter “A” at the end of the string of letters on the books first two pages
b.) A Roman numeral on the title page shows the printing date
c.) The letter “R” appears on the back of cover

10. A vintage colourtone copy of Little Golden Book’s Madeline is for sale on E-bay right now for how much?

a.) $79
b.) $125
c.) $228


1. Little Golden Books were first sold in 1942 (b) in department stores.

2. Simon & Schuster (a) , along with Western Printing, published the titles. In just five short months, they’d sold 1.5 million copies.

3. One of the original 12 titles was The Poky Little Puppy (a). Today nearly 15 million copies of the book have been sold.

4. Little Golden Books originally cost just 25 cents (a). This was a great bargain for families as most children’s books were $2 to $3 at the time. Today, a little Golden Book costs $2.99.

5. Dr. Dan, The Bandage man (c) came with the Johnson & Johnson Band-aid glued on the title page. Its first printing was 1.75 million—the largest first printing of any Little Golden Book up to 1951.

6. In the mid-1950’s, Little Golden Books centered around children’s television shows (b) like “The Roy Rogers Show, Howdy Doody, The Lone Rangers, and Captain Kangaroo.)

7. Little Golden Books received a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian in 1992 (b). It was the year of their “golden” anniversary—50 years!

8. The most controversial Little Golden Books was Little Black Sambo. I had a copy of it as a child and it was one of my favorites. However, the word “sambo” is considered a racial slur in some countries and the book has been one of the most controversial books in existence. In 2004, Little Golden Books released a new version titled The Boy and the Tigers. The boy in it is called Little Ranjani. Today, a first edition regularly brings values of $150 or more.

9. You can often tell if your Little Golden Book is a first edition by checking the first two pages for a series of letters. If that series ends in “A”, it’s a first edition, a “B” it’s a second, and so on. In 1991, they began using Roman numerals.

10. The copy of Madeleine on E-bay is listed at $228 and you can buy it now!

What made these books so popular?

  1. Cost. Moms could pop in for them at the grocery or department store and bring home a surprise.
  2. Collectible. Let’s face it. We all love a collection, especially when we’re kids.
  3. Length. They were short. Moms would take the time to read them to their children and when kids began reading themselves, they could easily master them.
  4. Timeless. They told timeless stories, and story is the most powerful tool in the world.

So, which Little Golden Books do you recall? Which little golden treasures lined your shelves? How’d you do on the quiz? Curious minds want to know, and I’m very curious.


Raquel Byrnes said...

The Pokey Little Puppy! That takes me back. What a fun post.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Courtney said...

The Pokey Little Puppy was my favorite and now it's one of my daughter's favorite too, we read it a lot!!

Lisa Lickel said...

I grew up in Racine, home of Whitman Publishing. They had their store until my kids were little, into the eighties. I still miss it. PLP was my fav, too. Thanks for sharing.