Aurora Exhibit Displays Art from Beloved Golden Books

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 12, 2008 | Go to article overview

Aurora Exhibit Displays Art from Beloved Golden Books


Byline: Susan Dibble sdibble@dailyherald.com

Just hearing about the exhibit that opens today at the Aurora Public Art Commission makes peoples eyes light up, said director and curator Rena Church.

The more than 60 illustrations in "Golden Legacy: 65 Years of Original Art from Golden Books" bring back childhood memories of such beloved picture books as "The Poky Little Puppy" and "The Great Big Fire Engine Book."

"A lot of people are calling and saying they are bringing their kids or grandkids," Church said. "It brings back a lot of memories. When they first see these, everyone has stories to tell."

The traveling exhibit put together by the National Center for Illustrated Childrens Literature in Abilene, Texas, will be on display through Oct. 12 at the David L. Pierce Art & History Center, 20 E. Downer Place, Aurora.

At the opening reception from 5 to 8:30 p.m. today, Sept. 12, not only can visitors see the artwork that has helped give the books their endearing quality, but they can hear the story behind what became a phenomenal publishing success.

Leonard Marcus, whose book "Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Childrens Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way" came out last

fall, will be on hand to sign copies and give details on the Little Golden history. Copies of his book will be available for $40.

The Little Golden Books were a success from the time the first 12 were published in 1942 by the Western Printing & Lithographing Co. and Simon and Schuster, Marcus said. At a time when childrens picture books sold for $2 at city department stores, the Little Golden Books could be purchased for 25 cents at groceries, 5-and-10s, and drugstores.

"They were much more widely available to the average person in the United States," he said. "It took off like a rocket."

Marcus, who grew up in a suburb of New York City, bought his own Golden Books on trips to a local Woolworth. He remembers lining them up on a shelf so their gold spines showed.

"At the age of 3 and 4, I thought the spines might be made of real gold," he said. …

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