TYPE LOVES LITTLE GOLDEN BOOKS
the iconic Little Golden series has taken over the kids' room
When Little Golden Books appeared on dime and department store shelves just before the holiday season in 1942, the world of story selling was very different. Before then, children's books were large, expensive tombs, meant to be handled by adult hands, and available mostly though schools and libraries.
By contrast, The Little Golden series aimed to appeal directly to the hearts and minds of 3- to 8-year-olds. The goal was to transform the children’s book from rare object to part of everyday American life.
The words per page were dramatically reduced, stories were made simpler and more realistic, bright and colourful illustrations dominated the page and kept children captivated. The story book was forever changed.
And they were an instant success. The Poky Little Puppy was (and still is) the most popular of the original twelve titles, and is the best-selling children's book of the 20th century, with 14,898,341 copies sold. At the time of the golden anniversary, it was announced over a billion and a half Little Golden Books had made their way into little hands.
Little Golden Books are now firmly a part of the pop culture consciousness, due in no small way to their consistent and distinctive look. A copy of Three Little Kittens bought today is essentially the same as one printed in 1942, but the spine design has evolved subtly over the years. The first 35 titles sported a blue spine, covered by a dust jacket printed with a laurel-patterned gold spine. After 1947 the dust jacket was removed, and the now-iconic gold foil spine was simply applied to the book itself. The pattern on the spine danced around over the years, but since 1969 has not strayed much from its flower design dotted with the occasional bunny, chicken, elephant, bumblebee, or cricket.
The series remains widely loved and well respected. There are more than one website devoted to collecting Little Golden Books, and the National Museum of American History is home to nearly 500 of their original drawings.
To this day, Little Golden Books represents an enormous shift in thinking about how, where, and what children should read. Type has a display of our favourite Little Golden books for sale in our Queen West kids' room, stop by and check it out!