How Golden Books won children's hearts, changed publishing forever and became an American icon along the way is the subtitle of this sixty-five year history of Little Golden Books.
In 1942 twelve Little Golden Books were released in retail outlets to be sold for 25 cents each dramatically undercutting the price of other children's books available. In the Golden Legacy, Leonard S Marcus provides the history of the company publishing the books, the writers and illustrators, the impact of the books on the publishing industry and the selling of children's books.
The book is well illustrated with covers of many of the titles and flicking through the pages brings back memories of titles long forgotten but which once were favourites for generations. The Poky Little Puppy, The Three Little Kittens, The Big Brown Bear, The Little Red Hen, How to Tell the Time, We Like Kindergarten and Doctor Dan the Bandage Man are only a few of the the hundreds of titles published over the years.
The names of the authors and illustrators were never shown on the covers of the books but a number including Richard Scarry, Margaret Wise Brown, Mercer Mayer and Garth Williams became well known in children's literature.
Trends in writing for children are discussed especially those in the 1960s when care was taken to avoid stereotypes and include illustrations reflecting the multi-racial makeup of society.
Random House bought the company in 2000.
A number of websites are dedicated to Little Golden Books including:
Little Golden Book Collector - http://www.goldenbook.com/index.php
Little Golden Books: a treasury of children's literature - http://childrensbooks.about.com/cs/publishers/a/goldenbooks.htm
Little Golden Books (Random House) - http://www.randomhouse.com/golden/lgb/books/