Golden Books Still Going Strong at 60
Allport, Brandy Hilboldt, The Florida Times Union
Byline: Brandy Hilboldt Allport, Times-Union staff writer
Poky Little Puppy. Tawny Scrawny Lion. Saggy Baggy Elephant. No wonder Little Golden Books remain a reading sensation six decades after first editions rolled off the press. The titles alone are fun to say. Try it. "Saggy Baggy, Saggy, Baggy."
To mark its 60th anniversary, Golden Books released Sixty Years of Little Golden Books: Limited Edition Anniversary Collection ($17.99; ages 2 to 5). Besides Poky, Tawny and Saggy, the boxed set includes Tootle, The Shy Little Kitten and Scuffy the Tugboat. The commemorative set also includes a blank Little Golden Book for aspiring writers and illustrators.
When Little Goldens were first published, the average price for a children's book was $1.75 to $3. Little Golden Books cost 25 cents, and within five months, more than a million copies had been sold. Their gangbusters status never slowed, and in 2001, Publishers Weekly named The Poky Little Puppy the No. 1 best-selling hardback children's book of all time (14,898,341 copies).
The affordable price isn't the sole reason for the books' success. Consider the accomplished writers -- Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Moon), Ruth Krauss (A Hole is to Dig) and Dorothy Kunhardt (Pat the Bunny) -- who started their now-legendary careers at Little Golden. Illustrators include Richard Scarry (Richard Scarry's Busy Busy World) and Garth Williams (Charlotte's Web).
If you want to go on a treasure hunt at a used book store to find first works by these noted people, here's a shopping list:
-- The Golden Sleepy Book, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Garth Williams.
-- The Animals of Farmer Jones, illustrated by Richard Scarry.
-- The Color Kittens, written by Margaret Wise Brown.
-- Little Peewee, written by Dorothy Kunhardt.
-- I Can Fly, by Ruth Krauss.
Nostalgia plays a big part in Golden Books' continued popularity. …