Before I could read, I had a bookshelf that held my ever-growing collection of Little Golden Books. Along with Mother Goose and Dr. Suess, I was read the stories, asking for them over and over again.
Each time I accompanied my parents to the store, I expected to get a new book and usually did. At the time - although I wasn't aware then - the Little Golden books cost 29 cents each. Using an online tool to compare that price at today's rates indicated that that would be equal to $2.43 cents now. So, although an excellent value, the books were not quite as cheap as it might seem but well within most budgets.
Until Little Golden Books debuted on October 2, 1942, quality children's books were expensive. Most children owned only a few but Little Golden Books changed that. When they first hit the market, they sold for a quarter and unlike other books, they were sold in every day places where people shopped.
The appearance of the books hasn't changed - they still have cardboard covers with a golden spine.
The original twelve titles were Three Little Kittens, Bedtime Stories, Mother Goose, Prayers For Children, The Little Red Hen, Nursery Songs, The Alphabet from A To Z, The Poky Little Puppy, The Golden Book of Fairy Tales, Baby's Book of Objects, The Animals of Farmer Jones, and This Little Piggy And Other Counting Rhymes.
I remember having three of those original dozen books, The Little Red Hen, Prayers For Children and The Poky Little Puppy. The Poky Little Puppy was one of my favorites and ranks as the best selling children's picture book of all time. Written by Janette Sebring Lowrey, the book is still sold and loved by kids today. A copy bought today looks exactly like the original release.
As time went on, the popularity of the books continued to grow and other titles were added. I remember books featuring Little Lulu, Tootle and Scruffy. Today, popular tales including Star Wars have been added.
The classic books made a good foundation for my love of reading. Building upon that, when my parents purchased a set of Childcraft Books, I was primed to dive into those as well along with what became an ever growing number of books, some written for children, others that were not.
Once I graduated beyond Little Golden Books, I found juvenile novels that were also cardboard bound with heroines that included Nancy Drew, Donna Parker and Trixie Belden.
I also began to read the classics, some rewritten for children and some that were not.
Heidi ranked as one of my top favorites but I also enjoyed Treasure Island and Tom Sawyer.
Those Little Golden Books continue today, more than seventy years later and I'm glad. I hope each new generations of young readers will continue to discover them and launch into a lifetime of reading.
-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy is a staff writer and reporter for The Neosho Daily News. She is also an author with numerous published works. She is also an avid reader.