Friday, October 10, 2008

The Little Golden Book Library

The Little Golden Book LibraryWhen I was a child a salesman came to our door selling Little Golden Books and my mother bought a set. However this wasn't just your regular set of Little Golden Books, this was a four-volume set of classics published in 1969 which quickly became a favorite in our house.

The trouble is that over the years those books got loved to death until they were hanging from their bindings and when our childhood books were divvied up among the siblings and I ended up with one of the volumes it was falling apart so badly that it could hardly be read.

I tried finding a new 4-volume set but they are completely out of print, no luck at all. My luck came in when my sister Carinne, who is absolutely and without dispute the Queen of Ebay, scrounged around and found a set which she gave me for Christmas a couple years ago and which I will have buried with me. I love her that she was so thoughtful--it was a wonderful gift.

What makes these books so great? Well Little Golden Books, first of all, are near to my heart because they came about as an attempt to make inexpensive, quality books available to children of all classes. The stories Golden Books published were so sweet and so beautifully illustrated that as a child I found them wonderful and as an adult I can still find the beauty in each page. (I've simply never found an illustrator that I love as much as Sheila Beckett--as a child I would recopy her pictures from The Twelve Dancing Princesses over and over in my notebook in admiration).

Besides this, Little Golden Books were instrumental in giving many a budding author and illustrator a leg up in their career--classic authors and illustrators such as Margaret Wise Brown, Garth Williams and Esther and Eloise Wilkin.

Ukelele and Her New DollThe four volumes categorize the classic stories into "Golden Favorites" (the orange volume) "Bedtime Stories" (the blue volume), "Fairy Tales and Rhymes" (the pink volume), and "Our Wonderful World" (the green volume) and the best thing about the stories they anthologize is that they're in their original, longer format. When the books were published singly anywhere from 2-6 pages were often removed but here they're entirely perfect and without abridgment.

If you haven't picked up a Little Golden Book lately sit down and read The Pokey Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Tawney Scrawny Lion or The Saggy Baggy Elephant. Don't mess with the Disney version Golden Books which unfortunately are about the only Golden Books you can find nowadays, those are just poorly written, rehashed versions of the films and I'm guessing every kid the world over gets more than their dietary allotment of Disney as it is. Stick with the beloved classics--the ones that taught me to love reading and good books.

But if you can't find copies of this 4-volume set (and you might have to find them each individually) you can always look for my favorites published individually. They make for amazing bedtime reading.

Ukelele and Her New Doll by Clara Louise Grant
I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss
The Train to Timbuctoo by Margaret Wise Brown
Little Boy with a Big Horn by Jack Bechdolt
The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Sheila Beckett
Snow White and Rose Red by Gustav Tenegren
The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown
Indian Indian by Chalotte Zolotow
The Merry Shipwreck by Tibor Gergely
The New Baby by Esther Wilkin
Houses by Elsa Jane Werner
The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown

Sponsored by:Beau-Coup--Fine and unique baby shower favors.

Technorati tags: books, Little Golden Books

28 comments:

MoziEsmé said...

I've been on the lookout for the Little Golden Books at every thrift store I find - I'm always looking for good books for my baby!

Tammy said...

I love Golden Books, and it is one thing I'm on the lookout for for my coming little one. :-)

Chrissy Johnson said...

I just picked up the Bedtime Collection for a friends' birthday! My personal favorites are the Poky Little Puppy and Baby Dear. On side note: My husband is flying to Anchorage today!

Kathy said...

My favorite Golden Books are the ones illustrated by Eloise Wilkin, sister of Esther Wilkin (both women married Wilkin men). Her drawings are precious, no other word aptly describes the way she captured the sweet innocence of childhood on pages. I have some hardcover chunky books in a set I found in our local hospital gift shop which have her illustrations. The Little Golden Books are such treasures.
Kathy

bigfamily8 (at) yahoo (dot) com

mj said...

We love looking for old classics like these at secondhand book shops. :)

An Ordinary Mom said...

A few years ago, Costco was selling Golden Books in packs of 10. There were 4 different sets (so 40 total) and I got all 4 sets. No Disney ones here. Can you tell we love these books, too :) ?!?

The Dunns said...

Our family's favorite is The Little Red Caboose. Three generations are still loving all the original Golden Books!

Erin said...

My kids LOVE The Poky Little Puppy. We even have a set of "Go Fish" cards that are Little Golden Book edition. The saggy baggy elephant is my son's favorite character. Thanks for reminding me to look up more books at the library!

The Source said...

I still have my Poky Little Puppy from 1972.

jenny said...

and well i too well love golden books the best ones to find or even get are the old ones that are marked with racine wi and that are in ment with no color marks in them or rips . when i was a kid i well did meet the lady that well did wright some of the books thats becuse she also had lived here in my home town where the books use to be made upuntell i think 1990 or so. we also have this place called the book house where you could bye the books at 1/2 price but when the bissness movied it moved to the last time i rember they did make a outlet store in well in a town not to far from here but i dont know if its still a round or not but well it was one way to save money on byeing the books.

April ~ Living the Sweet Life said...

Oh I love little golden books. We have over 50 and are continually adding more(mostly old vintage ones). On Christmas Eve all of us get a vintage little golden book copy of the Night Before Christmas which was my favorite as a child. Everyone reads along in their copy all different versions. Then we have fun looking at how each is a little different than the other.

Hope said...

I love Little Golden Books! My Grandmother was an English Teacher, and had a shelf at her house that had only Little Golden Books for us grandkids to read. Thank You for posting the books. The Pokey Little Puppy was one of my favorite books.

Jen Rouse said...

I love old Little Golden books. We own several of those--The Poky Little People is a big favorite--but I appreciate the list you included. I'll have to be on the lookout for those at used bookstores.

Tiff said...

THe Pokey Little Puppy was my absolute favorite book!! I so wish I could find that for my kids

MommyTime said...

oh, I LOVED Little Golden Books as a child. All the ones you mentioned were in our house. Someone gave my daughter a Pokey Little Puppy coloring book for her last birthday, and she has loved it even though the illustrations have been turned into coloring pages. I can't wait to find more of the original books. You've inspired me.

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

so wonderful that you were able to find the complete 4 volume set!

i just went through a box of books that have been in my garage since i moved out of my parents house for college - inside was a golden book of my mother's, "Mother Goose" from 1945.

Heather said...

We never had the big set like that, just individual books, but I still have a lot of them. My kids are reading them these days.

mannequin said...

Childrens books are on of my passions and Golden Books are no exception. I've got lots from the seventies ; I leave them sitting out in the sun room. I love the illustrations. Nice collection you have there!

java said...

like everyone here, I love Little Golden Books. I have had success in finding copies of old favorites from sellers on amazon.

Kris said...

And don't forget Richard Scary!

My favorite LBG from childhood was Little Mommy. Eight years ago, not remembering the title, I googled for a while until I found that, not only did the book have a following, it had been out of print for so long that the cheapest copies on ebay were $80. I'm so glad I held out because LGB finally reissued the book in the spring, just in time for my daughter to appreciate it.

Kris said...

PS I also picked up an oversized Eloise Wilkin treasury at a preschool's yard sale several years ago. It's falling apart, my kids could take it or leave it, but me? I'm thinking of framing some of the pages. Simply beautiful.

Abby said...

The Little Golden Books are such a nostalgic item for those of us who grew up in the 70s!

It warms my heart to hear you love them so much! I am sure your sister is just giddy that she found a gift you treasure so much!

Inkling said...

A great place to find out of print books is abebooks.com. When I worked at my favorite used bookstore in St. Louis years ago, my job was to list a lot of our inventory on Abe. Now, it's my first stop when I'm looking for hard to find books, especially ones at low prices. I've ordered from bookstores across the ocean and right next door, and that includes several special children's books I got for $1 each plus maybe $3-4 shipping.

jenny said...

well i'm back and well yester day i went out for a bit to well one of are 2nd hand stores here in my home town and well i had seen a lot of little golgen books but i did not get any of them unsted i got some borad books that where also made by westen printting co. thay also a long with the tuch and feel books are some of the grate works that thay also did .

Julia said...

I loved these too. What a sweet incredible gift.

Headless Mom said...

"My Puppy" is my favorite. The boy reminds me of my boy2. But The Sailor Dog? Like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

Melissa Markham said...

I love The Color Kittens and Scruffy the Tugboat and The Saggy Baggy Elephant! I also had a lot of golden books dating back to the 1960s. I still have some that my kids have in their library. Thanks for bringing back fond memories.

chelle said...

The Sailor Dog & The Color Kittens are huge at our house!