Who didn’t grow up with the books The Poky Little Puppy, The Saggy Baggy Elephant, and Four Little Kittens from Little Golden Books? This year, Little Golden Books will celebrate its 75th anniversary. Little Golden Books launched in 1942 and sold for $.25 each. At the time, children’s books typically sold for $2-$3 apiece and were considered a luxury for many families. Little Golden Books wanted to make books affordable for families with young children and promote reading.
Little Golden Books published twelve original titles in October 1942, and in only five months, the twelve books were in their third printing at 1.5 million copies. Little Golden Books were introduced to supermarkets in 1947 for an average cost of $.25 until the 1960s, when the cost went up to a whopping $.29 apiece. Aside from the original twelve Little Golden Books titles, other titles included characters from popular children’s television shows and Westerns, like Howdy Doody, Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, and Sesame Street, as well as characters from Walt Disney movies. Richard Scarry began writing and illustrating Little Golden Books titles in the 1970’s, and Sesame Street and Barbie characters began making appearances, as well.By its 40th anniversary in 1982, 800 million Little Golden Books have been sold worldwide. In 1986, The Poky Little Puppy became the one billionth title printed.
Artwork from Little Golden Books has been featured at the Smithsonian Institution, the New York Public Library, and the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and the writing and artwork have won numerous awards. By January 2002, the Little Golden Books library boasted 1,200 titles. Today, the average cost of a Little Golden Book is $4.99, with several classics back in print to celebrate the 75th anniversary.
Now it’s time to introduce a new generation of readers to Little Golden Books; you can still purchase titles at several grocery stores, like Kroger. For more information, please visit the Little Golden Books website.