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Little Golden Books
Little Golden Books is a popular series of children's books. The first 12 titles were published October 1, 1942:
Prayers for Children
The Golden Book of Fairy Tales
Baby's Book of Objects
The Animals of Farmer Jones
This Little Piggy and Other Counting Rhymes
The Little Golden Books, which initially sold for 25¢, were published by Simon and Schuster in cooperation with the Artist and Writers Guild, Inc. headed by Georges Duplaix. Duplaix had initially thought up the idea for the Little Golden Book series and fleshed it out in conversations with officials at Simon and Schuster. Dr. Mary Reed a professor at the Teachers College of Columbia University served as initial editor of the series.
Western Printing and Lithographing Company in Racine, Wisconsin, was Simon and Schuster's partner in the Little Golden Books venture. Western handled the actual printing. In 1958, Simon and Schuster sold its interest in Little Golden Books to Western.
Ownership and control of the series has changed several times since. In 2001, Random House acquired Golden Books for about 85 million dollars.
Although the Little Golden Books have remained the backbone of the product line, the enterprise that produced the Little Golden Books has created a variety of children's books in various formats including records, tapes, videos, and even toys and games. Some titles have appeared in several different formats (including but not limited to "A Golden Book").
Although the details have changed over the years, the Little Golden Books have maintained a distinctive appearance. A copy of The Poky Little Puppy bought today is essentially the same as one printed in 1942. Both are readily recognizable as Little Golden Books. At the time of the golden anniversary, Golden Books claimed that a billion and a half Little Golden Books had been sold.
Some Little Golden Books and related products have featured popular children's icons from other media, eg. Sesame Street, the Muppets, Disney, Barbie, Power Rangers, etc. Television and movie tie-ins have been particularly popular. Over the years Hopalong Cassidy, Cheyenne, Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Captain Kangaroo, Mister Rogers, and even Donny and Marie have appeared in Little Golden Books. Recently, Ratatouille was added to the line up.
Many have dealt with nature and science, Bible stories, nursery rhyme, and fairy tales. Christmas titles are popular every year. The fact that many old titles remain in print shows the strong nostalgia appeal of Little Golden Books.
The official Random House website contains an interesting timeline for Little Golden Books.